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Wally sets new challenge after cup exit

Manager's reaction after Wimbledon were eliminated from the Emirates FA Cup

16 February 2019

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Wally Downes felt that his players acquitted themselves well in defeat against Championship opponents today and he has challenged the squad to go all out for League One survival.

Speaking to iFollow after the narrow 1-0 FA Cup defeat against Millwall, Wally said: “We put in a good performance and on the day we were a match for them. It was just disappointing to let ourselves down and let a goal in from something that we’d highlighted and pointed out all week.

“We got off to a good start by getting forward and wide. We put them under pressure and nearly got a goal early. When we did let the goal in we were solid at the back and there were not a lot of chances for them. We sort of progressed our way into the game, and stayed in it. In the second-half I knew that if we were losing then the formation had to be changed. I think the boys adapted well to the change when it happened as we got on the front foot.

“We were still in the game at half-time, so I was pleased and all it was I thought (for us to get back into it) was having the chance to get one goal in the second-half and the game would change, but it didn’t happen. If it had happened early, perhaps we could have pushed on, but human nature being what it is, perhaps 1-1 would have been a stalemate. Millwall might have smothered the game if we’d scored. Who knows what would have happened?”

“Today, we lost the opportunity of getting to a cup final, but now we’ve got 14 cup finals. I say to the players all of the time: focus, concentrate, and win the next game, but there is a bigger picture. The bigger picture is that we have to play every game as if it’s a cup final. We are looking to get on a run now. We have some teams in and around us to play. It was a great win on Tuesday night and a good performance today. We need to lose the disappointment when we come in tomorrow, review the game on Monday, and get ready for Rochdale on Tuesday. Then you’ve won two league games on the trot, a home game is after that, and there’s a bit of momentum. Things can get on the up and the new challenge is there for us.”

Shane McLoughlin received the Man of the Match award and the manager has been delighted with the start he’s made since joining AFC Wimbledon on transfer deadline day.

“He’s a terrific kid is Shane and we’ve given him his opportunity here. He can pass, he can play, and he’s tenacious. Shane is young, ambitious, and he’s everything I’d want someone at this club to be.” 

The full interview with Wally is available to watch by clicking on the link to our iFollow channel above.

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