By Chris Slavin
Neal Ardley was pleased with the team ethic that notched a hard-earned point at Peterborough today and he praised his players for bouncing back from four successive defeats.
Four points out of six have certainly steadied the ship and the draw at the ABAX Stadium secured Wimbledon’s first point on the road since the end of January.
Speaking during his post-match interview for iFollow, Neal said: “In the last two games we were up against it after a terrible 10 days, which hit us for six and we could not recover. That was a blow, but we have now picked up four points from two games. It gives us a platform to see how we go about our other games because they are going to be tough. The team has been more defensively sound. We have a tough week coming up. This game was always going to be difficult and Blackburn is next, but we will do our best. All I can do is try to keep us organised, physically fit, mentally strong, and send the boys out there knowing their jobs. We cannot guarantee anything after that, other than hopefully the level of performance.
When asked if it was a point gained, rather than two dropped, Neal added: “If you would have asked me before the game, I would have said, ‘of course’. Coming away to Peterborough and getting a point is a really good result, but when you are 1-0 up with 15 minutes to go, you believe. We have been very good this season at holding onto our leads. I think it was the one time we probably got our defending wrong. We did not track the runner into the box and we got punished for it by a good team, but I cannot fault much. The defending was spot-on. They have carved a lot of teams open, but we kept it quite tight, and I thought we had a threat going forward. The boys put in a shift, we were well organised, but we did not quite see it through to get three points."
With Darius Charles missing due to a hip injury, Neal paired captain Barry Fuller and Deji Oshilaja together at the heart of defence. The manager explained his team selection afterwards, as well as providing an update on Darius.
“Robbo would have been the ideal player to fill in for Darius, but I had a feeling that the forwards in their team would be pacey and one-versus-one forwards,” added Neal. “I did not think they would have a big man for us to cope with, so I made the choice to go with Baz and Deji. I thought they were pretty much faultless for most of the game. Further forward, we wanted to have two sitting midfielders to try and let the front four roam and cause problems, which I thought they did at times. Obviously, they had to put in a defensive shift as well. I had a good chat with them yesterday about that. Darius might need an injection or something to get him through and he will be touch and go for Tuesday.”
The full post-match reaction from Neal Ardley is on iFollow via the link above.