By Chris Slavin
Neil Cox said that AFC Wimbledon’s players put their bodies on the line to secure a place in the second round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Speaking during a post-match interview for iFollow, Neil said: “It’s been all about the team all week. All we had talked about all week was sticking together as a team and working hard for each other and today was exactly that. It was not the best weather for a football match, but it was ideal for the FA Cup. They stuck together and put their bodies on the line. Callum had a knock, Darius had a knock, and so too did Deji. They did not want to come off and they stayed on for the team. The players worked their socks off for the team and that’s all you can ask for.
“We are all together and we are fighting for one thing and that’s to win football matches. I think our fans will be proud of the way the players stuck together. Yes, we did not play the most attractive football, but we were there to get into the next round of the FA Cup and that’s the main thing.
“This is the best cup competition in the world and our players know that. Last year we had a difficult first round draw and this year it was difficult draw. We had a game plan all week, they were probably favourites for the cup tie because of what they did last season. We set our stall out to start fast with four attacking players on the pitch and Lyle scored a great goal. We then had another couple of half chances, but then the game plan went out of the window after Lyle came off injured. We had to change it and we lost our football a little bit. I don’t think they had many chances to be honest with you. They scrapped, put bodies up there at the end, but I thought we were calm and defended really well.”
Wimbledon’s pre-match preparations suffered a blow when George Francomb was withdrawn from the line-up, joining Liam Trotter on the injury list.
“Liam got a knock during the week and that put him out today,” added Neil. “About an hour and a half before kick-off George was not feeling too good, so we had to change it, but we were always going to play four attacking players on the pitch. Obviously, Lyle went off and Jon Meades came on to play right-midfield, which he had not done before. He has only really been back for a couple of weeks, but he was magnificent for the team and there were a lot of good performances.”
Neil’s full post-match reaction is on iFollow and look out tomorrow for an interview with Cody McDonald.