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Neal: "We've had to battle for every scrap and we did that"

Manager's reaction after team effort at Oakwell

19 August 2018

Neal Ardley was delighted with Wimbledon’s team effort at Oakwell, against a side he sees as one of the main frontrunners this season.

“You can’t get carried away,” said Neal in an in interview with our premium iFollows Dons channel, after a 0-0 draw with Barnsley. “I think that all our fans ever ask for is that the boys give everything for the shirt. I think thats been the case so far this season. The move for Kwesi Appiah’s goal that was given offside was a breathtaking move. You have to understand that the team we played against there are a borderline Championship quality team and we’ve had to battle for every scrap we got today and we did that.

“I did video footage for this game because Barnsley have been awesome in their first two games. They’ve been the best team in the league and they’ve blitzed the teams they’ve played against. We knew we were going to have to ride the storms at some point during the game and away from home you have to be solid.

“I thought we were under pressure in the first half, they cause you problems, they ask you questions, they stretch you and when you win the ball back you're out of shape, it’s very hard to get your game going. We found that in the first half and we were getting a little frustrated, so we came in at half time and steadied the ship a bit and talked about what we were going to do in the second half. We then carried so much more threat and we had some great chances.

“I’ve looked at the footage of Kwesi Appiah and he’s dead in line with their player, you can tell by the markings on the pitch and he’s given offside. I’ve also looked at Kwesi’s penalty shout. All in all we’re delighted with a point and delighted with another clean sheet though. I thought the two centre-forwards worked their socks off up front for us before Joe Pigott came on and we stood firm at the back. That’s a team effort. I think they’ll be automatic promotion candidates, if not winning the league at the end of the season.”

With a busy few weeks ahead, Neal has already started turning his attention to the visit of Walsall to the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Tuesday night.    

“Tennai Watson was out for a little while last season and he’s had three games in a week,” said Neal. “We put Scott Wagstaff in there to maybe protect him, because he’s got that little bit more knowhow and he did a great job with that with his energy. We now need to look towards Tuesday against a team that are flying high and we embrace it.

“We look at the forwards, the wide men and the central midfield players and I’ve got no problem with who I bring in. We have total faith and if I need to change five or six, I will. We’ll count the bodies on Monday and work it out from there.”

Pic credit: Simon Davies (Pro Sports Images).


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