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Neal: we deserved a win

25 February 2017

Manager's reaction after the Dons rediscover that winning feeling

Neal Ardley said that a victory today rewarded the players for all their hard work after a tough spell for the Dons in 2017.

Speaking after the hard-fought 1-0 victory against Walsall, Neal said: “It gets us a win that we deserved. I think the last three performances have been decent. We feel we have got the mojo back into the squad. Anything I do psychologically to get the players into a good place will not match what they felt in the dressing room afterwards. When you go six matches without a win, you lose that feeling. Today, they have got that feeling back. Hopefully, that will be something they can build on.

“It’s an important win. We played really well at Shrewsbury and we thought we deserved to win. Then we drew at Gillingham, and maybe we deserved more from that game too. Today, with the week we have ahead of us, the result was important.

“Lyle said that he threw everyone a dummy! But he has finished the second one and if ever you wanted the ball to drop to anyone, it would be Lyle or Dominic. It is great because Lyle has two in two now, Tom Elliott has been in good form all season, ‘Barchy’ is chipping in, and we have players scoring goals, which is important.”

Neal was delighted with the way his team carried out the game-plan against a Walsall side that came into the game in great form.

“We tinkered with things,” added Neal. “We wanted to make sure it was a positive team selection and we created chances, but it was difficult because Jon has done a great job. They have been playing almost a five at the back with one sitting in front and that is hard to break down. We wanted to be positive: to push our full-backs in, and try to pin them back in.

“We sat Dannie Bulman in and around Oztumer as a man to man and went two versus one at the back for most of the game. It allowed us to keep the pressure on. It was then going to be a case of if we could find that moment of quality or something from a set-piece that would get our noses in front and that’s what we managed to do.”

The full post-match reaction from Neal is now on Dons Player and an interview with Lyle Taylor will follow tomorrow.

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