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Interviews

Deji praises progress made so far with Wally at the helm

Captain interviewed after returning from injury

14 January 2019

Deji Oshilaja made his first start for six weeks to help the Dons secure a point at Coventry City and he believes the Dons are moving in the right direction under manager Wally Downes.

Wimbledon have lost just twice in eight games since Wally was appointed with both of those coming against sides chasing promotion – Charlton and Portsmouth – and our captain believes the squad are showing plenty of resilience in the battle to stay up.

Deji said: “The manager is very straightforward in terms of what he wants and how he wants us to play, to be low risk. I think you can see that with the way we are picking up results, particularly away from home. I think the manager is still learning about the players and we’re learning about him, but we will continue to develop and get better. I’m sure we will pick-up more points.

“You can see that there is a real resilience about the group. We had a game plan and got an early lead, maybe too early because we had to defend more! We hit the crossbar and they hit the crossbar, so it was a tough game, but it was a good point on the road. We were away at Coventry against a side high up in the league and their confidence was up, so to come away and get a point was a good result. The way we conceded was disappointing, but to grind out a point is a positive for the group.

“I was raring to go. I had been itching watching the boys playing and I worked hard to try and get back fit. I still have a bit of pain, but you have to go through that, and to get a result makes that worth it.”

In his absence due to a foot injury, Deji has watched 19-year-old Paul Kalambayi step-up to first-team football with the minimum of fuss. Deji has been very impressed by his development and he believes that new signing Dylan Connolly can be a real asset to the squad.

“Paul has played brilliantly,” added Deji. “To come into the team, especially in the position we are in at the moment, I think he has done really well. He’s been confident and I think everyone can see that he’s a big unit! He puts his body on the line and he made some good blocks against Coventry. Paul can be very proud of what he’s done so far.

“Dylan is a real livewire. Very quick, direct, and he has good quality when he gets on the ball. Players coming in will only boost the squad and help other players to push on. It provides competition for places and Dylan has looked bright. I’m sure he will do well.”

Deji is excited by the prospect of Wimbledon taking on West Ham in the Emirates FA Cup, but he’s keen to focus on gaining league points first and he thanked the 667 travelling Dons for getting behind the team at Coventry.

“It’s a massive tie for us and there should be a full house watching. Obviously winning breeds confidence. It was a great win at Fleetwood and the boys did well. We are looking forward to the next round, but first we’ve got to prepare for the next game coming up and we will tick off matches as they come along. When we do get there I’m sure we will put in a good performance.

“It was a fantastic effort from the fans. The boys really appreciate anyone coming down, even if was just one fan the players would appreciate it massively. I think you could see that with the way that everyone went over to clap the fans (on Saturday). I think they deserved that because they were loud right the way through the game, especially in the first-half. They helped carry us through the game and I must say a massive thank you to them.”


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