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Neal: we have to pull together

Manager's message with Scunthorpe up next

5 April 2018

Neal Ardley has called on everyone connected with AFC Wimbledon to help the team stay up by being positive during the run-in.

Speaking during an in-depth update for iFollow ahead of Saturday's game against Scunthorpe, Neal said: "The mentality is going to be a key thing because you are under extreme pressure. My job is to not up that pressure, not let my feelings bring the team down. Not to let the pressure get to me. That's what I've tried to say in my programme notes and when I've spoken to everyone at our club, including the board and the fans.

"No one can guarantee the points that we need because it's football and anything can happen in football, but I know the things that will make it harder for us to achieve what we want and that is negativity, that is moans and groans. Whether it be from me to the players at training and in games or when we go 1-0 down. If I start shouting and hollering at players it is only going to get worse. We have to find ways to support and be positive, to keep driving and making the players believe they can achieve anything, no matter how many games we have left and how many points we need. That goes for me, the fans, and the board. We have to try and pull together, we have to try and achieve it together.

"If we don't end up getting the points total we want, it will not be because we did not set the right environment and the right tone. There is a huge pressure on probably seven teams down there at the moment and we have to try and deal with that the best. We have to let the players have that freedom and the ability to try and win games of football. If they do it, great. If they get unlucky and they don't, then we've given it our best shot."

Of course, the Dons escaped relegation back in 2013, avoiding the drop into non league, and the manager is certainly drawing on those experiences during the run-in this season.

"I did the same thing back then," added Neal. "I stayed positive with the group. If you had come down to the training ground then, you would not have seen doom and gloom. You would have seen people walking around with smiles on their faces. They do care, they desperately want to get out of the situation we are in. The best way to do that is for everyone to be supportive and really get behind us, no matter how the game is going. Everyone has to do their best to pull this club, this team, through a difficult situation."

The full interview with Neal is available to watch via the link to our iFollow site above.


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