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Neal: we lacked desire

25 March 2017

Manager very disappointed with his side's display

Neal Ardley said after defeat to Southend United that Wimbledon’s second-half performance came up well short of the standards he expects from his team.

Speaking during a post-match interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “The second-half was as poor as we have been all season. In the first-half there was nothing between the two teams. Our final ball was lacking and that bit of quality let us down. It was poor defending for the first goal as their guy waltzed between three players and put it in the bottom corner. That was unacceptable.

“Our message at half-time was for the players to be braver. We wanted them to take risks, get at them more, to try and hurt them down the sides. What we got was flat, abject, and a lack of desire. It was a lack of competitive edge, a lack of responsibility, and people passing the buck. When all those qualities are lacking, it can make you look the worst team in the league. That was what we looked like in the second-half. They beat us up at the back, up top, and in midfield they ran all over us.

“I want the players to be embarrassed by it. I feel like I had more passion and go in me on the side than the team did on the pitch. That hurts and it is embarrassing. I has not happened too often in my time, but it has happened today. I want the boys to go home and feel it because I want a response from them.”

Neal warned that Wimbledon are not yet safe with seven games still to play in League 1 this season.

“Do not think that 51 points is safe,” added Neal. “We need another point or two, maybe a win. We need to keep going hard. Southend get to a level they expect, but our boys have been too up and down this season. That is why we are mid-table and not pushing higher. That’s the difference of 10-12 points. We looked like we felt sorry for ourselves in the second-half and they showed no mercy. You have to give credit to them because I thought they were excellent, but that was not a Wimbledon team out there, that’s for sure.

in the budget table so we are going to lose football matches. We are constantly trying to over-achieve, but one thing we should be able to guarantee - something non-negotiable – is a high-level of desire, competitiveness and energy. We are good when we show all of those qualities, but today we didn’t. We wanted them to ask more questions in the second-half, but we had absolutely nothing. I cannot explain it, but the boys have to show that desire in the next seven games.”th or 20th“We are 19

    . Dons PlayerNeal’s full-post match reaction is now on  

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