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Neal apologises to fans

4 February 2017

Manager's reaction after defeat at Sheffield United

Neal Ardley said his side’s performance at Sheffield United today was simply not good enough and he apologised to Wimbledon supporters for the display.

Speaking during a post-match interview after the Blades moved to the top of League One with a 4-0 win against Wimbledon, Neal said: “It is a big game for us to be at Sheffield United. A year ago if someone had told us we would be playing here in League One we would have snapped their hand off. It is great that over 800 of our fans came here today and they were brilliant. We are sorry that we did not give them enough to shout about, but sometimes you have those days. We have under-performed massively. When you do that against the best team in the league you get a disparity in the result.

“It was nowhere near good enough. They were very good and I said beforehand that they are the best team in the league – I still think that is the case. We worked really hard during the week to stop their system pinning us back and getting control of the game.

“We did a lot of things wrong today and we did not play well. I think that their defenders beat our forwards up, their forwards beat our defenders up, and their midfielders ran all over our midfielders. That’s unlike us, but it has happened today. As a manager and a coach, you can play with tactics, but you feel a little helpless at that point. It is not what we did all week, but we shot ourselves in the foot from the first minute. It was a basic throw-in and we did not organise ourselves properly, which we are normally good at. We gave away a free-kick, then dropped a free-kick into the path of a striker. We had a mountain to climb; it got their spirits up and we struggled from then on.”

Neal confirmed afterwards that Dean Parrett missed out on the squad due to an ankle injury.

“Dean’s ankle flared up on Tuesday and Stuart Douglas said that he needed to get it right,” added Neal. “We had to take the hit on that and Jon Meades will be another two weeks before he is back in training. If we can get those two back, with the squad we’ve got, hopefully we can kick-on.”

The full interview with Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player and extended highlights will follow tomorrow.

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