Manager delighted with club effort on proud night for Wimbledon
Neal Ardley saluted the atmosphere that lifted Wimbledon to victory against Milton Keynes and he singled out goalscorer Jake Reeves for special praise.
Speaking in his post-match interview for Dons Player, a delighted Neal Ardley said: “It means a lot more than three points. I put a lot of pressure on myself before the game because I knew how much it meant. Although you do not ever want to be judged on one game of football – you want to be judged on a season – you know that it will make a big difference. I saw a lot of smiling faces and a lot of pride when we went around the pitch at the end. I wanted the players to enjoy that moment with the fans. They did us proud tonight.
“It (the atmosphere) was electric. We have played Liverpool here, played a semi-final here, but tonight was something a bit different. All I wanted personally was for the players to do us proud and I think they did that. The club board and people behind the scenes wanted to make sure that our brilliant reputation remained intact and they deserve credit for that.”
Neal paid tribute to all of his players for implementing the game-plan successfully, but he was quick to salute the contribution of Jake Reeves.
“We picked a system to try and play a high press and a high tempo,” added Neal. “We thought that would suit the game and what the fans would want. At half-time, we had to tinker with things because they were just getting out a bit too easily. The staff were brilliant: we always have a couple of minutes to go through what we can do to help the players. We came up with a couple of tweaks in our shape. I thought in the second-half we regained in so many good positions. We broke on them and we scored two wonderful goals.
“I don’t think Jake Reeves gets the credit he deserves. I think he is one of the best players to have put on the shirt at this club. He is a wonderful player and he has won a lot of people over with his performances over the years. I am really pleased because tonight he is going to put himself into a status of being a legend at this club and I think he deserves it. Lyle Taylor’s goal was exceptional, but he has already got that sort of status. I am delighted for Jake.”
The full interview with Neal Ardley is now in Dons Player. An interview with captain Paul Robinson will follow tomorrow, along with extended highlights of the victory against Milton Keynes.