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Neal: we lacked intensity

Post-match reaction from the manager

12 August 2017

Neal Ardley expressed his disappointment with today's display against Shrewsbury after the Dons produced a 90 minute performance that he said lacked intensity and energy.

The Dons struggled for attacking fluency after the midweek extra-time defeat to Brentford and Neal said afterwards that it was a 'flat' performance from his team.

Speaking to our iFollow channel after Wimbledon started the 2017/18 home league campaign with a 1-0 defeat, Neal said: "I am very disappointed. You want to see your team at home have a bit about them and if they lose, then it's because they were unlucky. I have spoken to the players, we talked about it a little bit, there was no ranting and raving. I think they all felt flat, even the ones who are fit and can normally run all day. We have to draw a line under it and say that we will be better. Anyone who has watched us against Brentford and Scunthorpe or in pre-season will know that the intensity in those games, compared to us today, was miles off. It was disappointing, but we have to make sure it does not happen again.

"We lost every battle on the pitch. Credit to Shrewsbury, I thought they were really good on the day. They got behind the ball well and we had to play quicker and with more intensity, but we didn't. Very rarely do I see 10 outfield players looking really flat and feeling sorry for themselves. It would not have mattered what system we played today, we did not have enough energy about us to cause a problem for them. We can normally get a foothold in a game and get on top of the opposition when we really want to, but we did not have enough about us to do that today."

Neal felt that anxiety crept into Wimbledon's play when Shrewsbury refused to buckle, the visitors producing a resolute defensive display throughout.

"You can do work on the training ground, but what you cannot work on is anxiety when things are not going our way and the fans are not feeling the intensity of the performance," added Neal. "You cannot deal with that on the training field because it does not happen. The players need to handle it better in those moments and still carry on doing the right things. If I am going to give the boys anything today that is an excuse for them, if all 10 of them felt really tired, then that's what performance we are going to get. It's not an excuse and it's not something we should be making an excuse about. We need to be on it every game.

"You have to do loads to score goals. You have to get into good areas, the strikers need to have good hold-up play, and the midfielders have to be clever, bright, and play quick. We were offside seven times in the first-half and you cannot get any momentum going in the game when that happens. It was not like they were playing a high line, it was laziness at times and not being switched on enough. There is a million and one ways to get a foothold in a game, but we didn't do any of them."

Neal's video interview and post-match reaction from Paul Robinson are on iFollow.

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