By Chris Slavin
Neal Ardley was delighted with his side's fightback at Scunthorpe today and he praised his players for adapting to new methods introduced during pre-season.
Speaking after the 1-1 draw at Glanford Park, Neal Ardley said: "We did a lot of work in pre-season on shape and everybody has been in on that. We tried to educate the boys so that we are a bit more fluid in the way that we are playing. That means our decision making has to be good and the boys have to take ownership of that. They did that today. The fans can see what we are trying to do and in the first-half they were still singing when we were 1-0 down. It is a slightly different style in the way that we are trying to go about things. It did not quite work in the first-half, but we kept going and as the game wore on we gave the fans a bit more to be excited about.
"In the first-half there were a lot of pleasing things. We controlled parts of the game. We had worked in pre-season on some of our passages of play and getting quality into our front men. I thought we did that on plenty of occasions, but we just lacked that sharpness in the final third. They scored from their first attempt on goal with a 'worldy', but other than that, we limited them to one cross and one far post attempt in the first-half. We were sort of comfortable in the first-half, without making things happen.
"In the second-half we upped our intensity levels and we could have had three or four goals. The boys had done okay in the first-half, but we just wanted to them to be even more aggressive in their defending and be on the front foot. We wanted them to be braver in what they were trying to do and I thought they did that. If we had taken our chances in the second-half we would have taken three points, but we would have taken a point at the start and we are delighted."
Jimmy Abdou was Wimbledon's hero today as he marked his debut with the equaliser and Neal believes he will go onto become a real favourite with the fans.
"I did just say to him, 'I did not sign you for that!'. As a manager, when you sign players you want the fans to take to them, and for them to bring joy. I think they will like Jimmy because he is a tireless worker. For him to pop up with a goal was great for him."
The full post-match reaction from Neal and an interview with Kwesi Appiah will be on iFollow tomorrow.