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Neal praises second-half response after win

Manager's reaction after impressive victory

26 August 2017

By Chris Slavin

Neal Ardley saluted the reaction from his players after they produced a second 45 minutes that was in stark contrast to the first-half.

Excellent goals from Kwesi Appiah and Andy Barcham raised the decibel levels at the Cherry Red Records Stadium to secure a much-needed 2-0 victory against Doncaster.

"It was a game of two halves," said Neal, in an interview for our iFollow channel. "It was a really tepid first-half. It was not what we want to see from our team or what we expect to see. I was a very frustrated man at half-time, although we had quite limited a team who had done really well and opened up teams this season. At half-time a few words were said and we found 20 per cent that we wanted. When you have pace in your team, play with speed, and your energy is much better, you get in good areas and good players get to do what they can do.

"It is our job to create that (atmosphere). Fans cannot cheer when there is nothing happening and in the first-half they had nothing to cheer. I think if one of our players had made a sprint, a tackle, or kicked someone in the air they could have cheered that. In the second-half we had a bit more energy about us, things that we as a club like to see from those wearing the shirts.

"It does not matter what system or shape you play, you have to do things with energy, aggression and energy. We had none of that in the first-half, but a few words were spoken at half-time and the response was excellent. The boys deserve all the credit for that, not me. They need to do it for 90 minutes, but at least we got the response we deserved and we probably ended up running out good winners."

Neal added that he always had full faith in Wimbledon's forwards to come good, after watching Appiah and Barcham score impressive second-half goals.

"Andy has done well all pre-season and in the season so far," said Neal. "He was a real menace to them today, even in the first-half when all the good running came from them. They played a diamond in midfield and with that you cannot run through the middle. You have to work the sides better and we picked a system and shape to do that, but you still need to have energy to make it work. Second-half we had tempo and went forward that bit quicker. When you get the ball in behind a bit better and find good players in good areas, that is what they can do.

"We know Kwesi has got it and hopefully that will give him a bit of confidence. They (the forwards) have had lots of chances, I kept a tab of the chances they created, and they've had a few already so far this season. It's nice for them to get off the mark. I have every confidence in the forwards we have scoring goals. My job is to get the team enough of the ball and in good positions to create chances for them. They trained exceptionally well Thursday and Friday and second-half they showed what they can do."

The full post-match interview with Neal is on iFollow, along with the thoughts of Kwesi Appiah after his stunning opening goal.

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