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Neal frustrated by manner of defeat

Post-match interview with the manager

26 December 2017

Neal Ardley expressed his frustration with the goals conceded by Wimbledon in today’s Boxing Day loss at Portsmouth.

“I am really frustrated,” said Neal, in his post-match interview. “I gave the players a team-talk about where they were going to hurt us. We know what Portsmouth’s strengths are and what Kenny’s teams are like. They don’t give a hell of a lot away and keep a lot of clean sheets. We felt that they would not open us up and that our mistakes and set-pieces would be the danger and that’s what happened.

“At 44 minutes into a game, you should clear your lines, get in at-half-time and talk about where you go from there. Instead, we tried to dribble out and then a square pass is intercepted and three seconds later it’s in the back of the net. That’s not good game-management, it’s school-boy stuff, and it’s disappointing. It had been a fairly even game up until then.

“At the start of the second-half we worked hard to get back into the game, upped the tempo, and clawed ourselves back in it. I could not see them scoring again after we got back to 1-1. They were bringing on different types, but I still felt we dealt with it. Then a deflected cross comes into the box and we give away a silly penalty. If you push people in the box, you are going to give away a penalty. If you challenge for a header in the box, you make it hard for him, you use your body. My first instinct, without seeing it again, is that it was a push in the back. When the ref has already given a penalty that was, but it was soft, there is every chance he is going to give the next one.

“We have to limit the mistakes that we make. We are not a team who can afford to gift the opposition goals. We gave Bradford a goal from a goal-kick on Saturday and we’ve given them a goal today. We cannot keep giving silly goals away and that’s what we’ve done today. It’s so frustrating.”

Neal added that Harry Forrester missed out on the squad today due to an injury picked up in training.

“Harry trained on Christmas Eve and he said that he felt his thigh,” said Neal. “Stuart Douglas said that he would probably miss the game. I don’t know where it’s come from. Sometimes it is something from nowhere. We had hardly started the session and he just said he was feeling his thigh.”

Due to technical problems, there was no video recording of Neal’s post-match interview for iFollow, and we apologise for this. Extended highlights of the game will feature from 12 noon tomorrow.  

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