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Neal frustrated by manner of defeat

Manager's post-match verdict after Plymouth game

21 October 2017

By Chris Slavin

Neal Ardley expressed his annoyance with the manner of today's loss against Plymouth Argyle after the Dons came up short in pursuit of three successive victories.

Speaking during his post-match interview for iFollow, the manager said: "We had 60 per cent possession and 18 attempts on goal. They had eight and barely came out of their own half. Credit to them, they are down at the bottom and they have to do that. What do I say to our boys? I have said my piece and I am annoyed that we've lost. I would have been quite content if I had come in afterwards and said, 'we have given it everything, but we could not break them down, and we've drawn 0-0'. It was my fear that we would switch off and it was everything that we told them not to do. It annoyed me that for the first 20 minutes in the second-half we didn't get ourselves going and it annoyed me that I had to change shape three times to try to get us into a position to score. Ultimately, the performance was okay, but we have lost 1-0. We did not carve out enough clear-cut chances for the possession that we had."

"At half-time, we said to the players exactly what we had beforehand. We said that they would look to turn ball in behind us early and break early behind the midfield. I thought for 20 minutes at the start of the second-half we did not start well. The two centre-backs who had dealt with everything in the first-half got us pinned back in and before you knew it, we had lost a bit of territorial advantage. We caused ourselves problems from set-pieces and we had warned them that Graham Carey would cut inside from the left and that we should not let them do that. There were a number of things we got wrong. From being on the attack with Barry Fuller on an overlap and back-heeling it, giving it to the opposition, and 10 seconds later the ball is in the back of our net."

Neal made just one change to his starting line-up after two successive victories and everything was geared to creating as many chances as possible.

"We had been playing really well with the system, so today we played it again," added Neal. "There was no space to get between their lines. We tried to play two forwards up and play on the outside of their defenders. That's what changed the game. Due to that we could commit more to attack, but we left ourselves a bit more open. We had our chances, but we've not taken them. I'm disappointed with the way we conceded the goal. It was everything we had warned them about. We set out to be probing, but with a worst-case scenario of us coming away with a 0-0 draw, having tried everything to score."

"The way that the game went was everything that we had prepared for. We thought that they would get 10 men behind the ball, play narrow behind spaces, play deep and not give us space to run in behind. They were willing to give us the wide areas because we would not be getting crosses in to a target man. We had to find ways of getting into good areas. We did that, but we did not hit the target or have the final pass."

Neal's full post-match reaction and an interview with captain Barry Fuller are now on iFollow.

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