Manager's reaction after battling draw
Neal Ardley hopes that today’s last-gasp leveller against Charlton can galvanise his squad after a difficult few weeks.
Speaking during a post-match interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “It is relief to get a point from the game. I thought in the first-half we were as nervous and as anxious as I had seen the group. I worked really hard with my staff to take that away. We have had a tough week with a lot of flatness and a little bit of hangover from the last three weeks of our season has crept in and it has been hard. We’ve had to do a lot of psychology work with the boys and a lot of counselling to get them in a good place. By the end of the week there was a buzz about the place again and I thought we had mastered it.
“When there is anxiety in the group you start to function like individuals and it looks like the opposition have two or three more players on the pitch. It came as a surprise to us, but it is something we have not done too often. At half-time, we had to not rant and rave, but take the anxiety away from them and work out how we were going to cause them a problem. I thought that the energy and desire in the second-half was exceptional.
“It is another point towards where we need to be. We have set targets for the players to try and achieve in the second-half of the season. I asked them at half-time to make sure that they got clapped off the pitch by the fans. Hopefully, in the second-half they saw the players giving everything.”
Neal felt that referee Carl Boyeson was wrong to give Tom Elliott a second yellow card for his celebrations after the equaliser.
“I’ve watched it back and Tom is a yard and a half off the pitch with six players around him and fans grabbing hold of him,” added Neal. “If every referee did that we would probably lose a player every game.”
The full post-match reaction from Neal and an interview with Jake Reeves is now on Dons Player.