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Neal: we are well short

22 April 2017

Manager's post-match reaction after defeat to Bradford

Neal Ardley pulled no punches with his assessment of today’s performance at Bradford City and he apologised afterwards to the 450 Wimbledon supporters who made the trip.

Speaking during a post-match interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “The fans have travelled all this way and they want to see a little bit of us having a go and competing. I am sorry for the performance. That is twice now we’ve come to big grounds with great atmospheres – Sheffield United and Bradford – but not performed. This club has been built on that and I have to take responsibility. I put the team out there and next season there is going to be some big clubs in this league. We have to be able to handle that.

“We need a good summer and I’ve not got a magic wand, we’ve not got much money, but we have to do something. We have to somehow shake it up a bit and I will be sitting down with all the players next week. They will get told where they stand and I have to rule a bit with an iron fist from now on. From what we’ve shown over the last three months, it has not been good enough.

“We are well short and that is my fault. The squad has not been good enough in the second half of the season. We have squeezed the lemon a little bit. We have to be really on our game to compete at this level and certainly since Christmas we’ve been in and out. In the last few games we have not been at our levels. We’ve missed the physicality of Tom Elliott, but I have a big job in the summer. I have a bit of clearing out to do, but I have to take responsibility. This is my squad that I’ve put together and today has shown that we are far short of the best teams in League One.”

Neal added that he was disappointed with the overall performance in defeat at Bradford today.

“We were second to everything,” added Neal. “Their centre forwards had the run on our centre backs and we had nothing up front. We had no quality. I tried to give us a system that would allow us to pass and control the game and to frustrate Bradford in the middle of the park. We did not even do that, despite having more numbers. You can talk about the game in isolation, but it is a reflection of the last three months.

“We had a spell between September and January when we were exceptional and that gave us the platform to stay up. I don’t want to take anything away from that, as much as it is a bit of a sour note. I think we should all understand that it has been a heroic effort to stay up this season and we need a bit of credit for that. It is clear to me though and to those who travelled here today that we are short and we need to do better.”

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