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Neal pleased with squad options after Charlton

Neal's post-match interview is on iFollow

5 September 2018

Apologies, this video is unvailable.

Neal Ardley took plenty of positives from last night's Checkatrade Trophy match at Charlton with several players staking a claim to be included in the next league game against Gillingham.

The manager shuffled his pack for the opening match in the competition and it ended with Wimbledon taking an extra point more than Charlton after winning a penalty shoot-out, the match finishing 2-2 at the end of normal time. 

Speaking during his post-match interview for iFollow, Neal said: "I was pleased with the way it went. We were disappointed with Saturday so we showed them a bit of a video nasty and had a good chat about what we needed to get back to as a team. There were elements of that today.

"We did not expect them to play three at the back and for the first 20 minutes we had to get used to that. We were letting them play in areas that we did not want them to play in. Once we solved those problems from the bench I thought we grew into the game. Certainly, in the last 15 minutes of the first-half and the first 15 minutes of the second-half we carried threat and looked like we had goals in us. The energy and the work-rate from the boys was excellent. There were a lot of players out there that probably still needed minutes and that meant there was a lot of tiredness in the last 20 minutes.

"We wanted to win a keep a clean sheet, you always want to win, but if I look at the players we brought in, that was our first-team squad. That team could play in any league game, without a shadow of a doubt. There were no Under-21s out there, it was a full-on first-team squad. We said that we would take on all the competitions with this squad. We have 21 players and I thought that was a strong team we put out there. Most of them could start on Saturday if I wanted them to, so there were a lot of positives. We wanted to win the game, but we've drawn it, and won the penalty shoot-out."

A big plus on the night was the performance of Tom Soares, who marked an impressive return to action after injury with a superb goal.

"Tom has been fantastic this season," added Neal. "You have probably seen that we've missed him in the last few weeks. It was always the intention to give Tom 65 minutes maximum, as I did not want him to get too fatigued. I thought he was excellent."

The full interview with Neal is available to watch by clicking on the link to our iFollow channel above and look out a bit later for an interview with Tom Soares.

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