Wally Downes felt his players showed that they’ve improved as a defensive unit after grinding out a hard-fought draw at Oxford United today.
Though our manager was far from delighted with aspects of Wimbledon’s play after the 0-0 score-line at the Kassam Stadium, he praised the resolution shown by his squad.
Speaking during his post-match interview for iFollow, Wally said: “The performance wasn’t great, we can play better than that, but I’m just pleased that we didn’t lose and the players got a point for the determination that they showed. They stuck to the task and it was good to be able to give the fans a point because they were terrific. You could hear them right the way through. If I was Oxford’s manager I would be thinking they had the better of it and they should have won, but I am really pleased that we got a point because with the effort we put in we deserved it.
“We are far from the finished article yet. There are times when we play well for half an hour and we have a setback and we crumble. We had a setback last week and we gave a penalty away, but we didn’t crumble. We were not good enough to recover from it and go on and win the game, but I am seeing improvement all of the time. That’s my job: to see improvement, to highlight mistakes, and to rectify them, but that today was a dogged 0-0 away performance and we haven’t had many of them.
“We could have passed the ball better, we could have made better decisions. We caused ourselves problems by not defending well enough, but we showed resolve and they worked hard at it. There are some technical and tactical issues that I can address with the boys. We should have done better in their half, but they are a team in form and we came here and got a point.
“We are making mistakes and today we didn’t get punished for them, so that’s good for their learning curve. The good thing is that we’ve come away with a point and I can now highlight the errors to them. We can watch it in the classroom and continue their education. Today there was nothing calamitous and we got away with it.”
Wally saluted the support the team received from 1,301 travelling Dons at Oxford.
“It looked more than that and it sounded more than that! The club is based on volunteers and sometimes I see players go to the fans and give it a couple of claps. I said to them, ‘see if you can out-clap them today, stay there longer’. Sometimes you give the fans a couple of claps, turn and walk away, but they’ve come a long way and we should show our appreciation."
The manager also praised goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale's display after he made several saves to keep a clean sheet.
“Everyone in front of him, especially the front two, worked their socks off. The midfield boys put themselves about, the defenders defended for their lives when the ball came in. When all of that failed Aaron did his job and he did it superbly.”
The full interview with Wally is available to watch on our iFollow channel.