Post-match reaction from the manager
Neal Ardley was full of praise for his side’s overall performance after they threatened to beat play-off contenders Millwall today.
A difficult Christmas period meant that Wimbledon’s management team were demanding a big improvement and that’s exactly what they got in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “I would be surprised if Millwall are in not in the top-six by the end of the season. To come out here today and be the better team against them shows our boys that when they are at it, we are a match for a lot of teams in this league. The Christmas schedule was tough, we felt even looking at it beforehand that they were two difficult games away at Southend and Bristol Rovers. They were two heavy defeats for us because we don’t normally get beaten by many if we do lose.
“It can knock your confidence a bit. That’s the mental side of it and physically the players did not have 48 hours to recover. You ask questions of your players that they have not been asked this season, but physically and mentally they came up with really good answers. I though the shift the boys put in was brilliant. Everyone out there put in a really good performance for the fans. Regardless of the result, I was delighted with the performance.
“The performance the players put in warranted a South London derby and warranted what our fans would have hoped for. I thought we were the better team and showed real character to come from behind twice. These boys did not get much time off for Christmas and they were all a bit down after the last two games, but we got into them and took some risks with picking the team. There are fatigue levels in certain players, but we’ve managed it well. Credit to the physio and our sports science department.”
Neal saluted Lyle Taylor’s all-action forward display after he bounced back in style from his sending off at Southend on Boxing Day.
“The first goal was a well worked one from the training field,” added Neal. “I thought Lyle was a real handful all game. He had real quality today and he did brilliantly to set the second goal up. Lyle put in a fantastic ball and Tom has shown the desire to get on the end of it. Lyle and Tom do combine well up there.”
During the post-match interview with WDON’s Rob Cornell, Neal said that Andy Barcham missed out on the squad today due to family reasons.
The full post-match reaction from Neal is now on Dons Player. Interviews with Tom Elliott, Sean Kelly and extended highlights will follow tomorrow.