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Neal: we have to keep it going

Manager's post-match reaction after victory against Blackpool

20 January 2018

Apologies, this video is unvailable.

By Chris Slavin

Neal Ardley said the players have been lifted by an impressive sequence of results after a third successive home win was achieved today, but he said that they must keep it going.

Speaking during his post-match interview for iFollow, Neal said: "We are working hard in every game. In the early season when we were not winning enough games, I looked at several reports people had done on League One and their comments were, 'I cannot quite work out why Wimbledon are in that position'. The stats and the expected goals certainly did not tell you that. We always knew what the issue was and we've worked hard on it. We feel we have a good team, we have a great bunch of lads who work hard.

"We cannot guarantee we will win every game, but we have a determination and a shape about us. The boys are giving it everything. We know during the run-in that we are going to lose games. We are going to win games and draw games. At the moment I think their mentality has lifted by the fact that the form has been good and the results have followed. We have to try and keep it going because in the last 19 games mentality is going to play a key part in it."

Neal added that a higher tempo in the second-half was a key factor in today's victory.

"I thought we were the better team in both halves, but we did not commit enough to our attacks in the first-half. We played too slow in our football a little bit. We moved it well and we got the ball into good areas, but last week at MK we had centre-backs going around wing-backs and all sorts with a commitment to our attacks. I felt that we were a little bit tentative in the first-half. Maybe it was due to the slippery conditions and they did not want to make mistakes. We talked about the fact that we needed to run harder behind them and back the play up quicker. We needed to go forward quicker. We did that and both goals came from it."

With Liam Trotter having scored the opener and set-up Joe Pigott's debut goal, Neal was full of praise for his display for the team.

"Football is a game of opinions," Neal said. "Liam gets the same comments at every club he has played for. The way he moves, I was similar because I never looked like I could run when I did play! Liam covers a lot of ground and his physical stats are phenomenal. He is a very intelligent player and he does not make a lot of bad decisions. Recently he has added that little bit in getting forward. We've tried to encourage midfielders and everyone to join in, not just the strikers. The system allows it and we are working hard on it. I am pleased for him.

"The lads are delighted (for Joe Pigott). They have welcomed him in. We know what he's capable of and I think the boys have been impressed with him. It's a team effort, like I always say. Joe will take the plaudits, but Lyle and Cody worked tirelessly for the time they were on the pitch, the midfielders do the leg work, and so on, and so forth. We defend from the front and it's three clean sheets on the trot now in the league. That's a good base and we just have to try to keep it going because we have tough games."

Neal confirmed afterwards that Will Nightingale missed out on the squad due to a knee injury suffered in training in midweek.

The full iFollow interview with Neal can be viewed via the link above and the post-match reaction of Joe Piggot after his debut goal will follow shortly.

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