Wally Downes saluted his players for putting a disappointing performance behind them with a brilliant team display against West Ham United.
The 4-2 victory against Premier League opponents was in stark contrast to the defeat against Fleetwood Town in midweek.
Speaking during his post-match interview for iFollow, Wally said: “It’s terrific. I am really pleased for the fans. After what we dished up for them on Tuesday night it was important that we put in a performance against the Hammers. If we hadn’t, it would have been a cricket score, so I’m pleased that they had the gumption to put a performance in.
“They are professional footballers. They were aware that they’d let themselves down and the fans down the other night. For whatever reason, I don’t know. It might have come a bit quickly after the Barnsley game, but footballers are not fools and they knew that if they didn’t up their game it could be a bad night. They did up their game and they did what we were planning to do. It’s good when there is the belief in what you want to do and it works for you.
“It was important that we didn’t let West Ham impose their game on us. For large parts of the second-half they did. They passed the ball about, they were a different team in the second-half, and if they had been able to start like that it would have been a long night for us, but we got in amongst them and disrupted them in the first-half and that’s how we got ourselves in front.
“The atmosphere was terrific, that’s why I was really pleased. Apart from the obvious about getting the fourth goal, at 3-2 with two or three minutes to go if they’d got a corner their keeper would have been in the box and there would have been bodies everywhere, but at 4-2 the fans could enjoy it. They could get the singing going and the lads knew it was highly unlikely that they were going to get two more goals. It was pleasing that the fans could take a deep breath and enjoy the result.”
Wally added that he was proud to play a part in creating more club history and he believes that academy products including Will Nightingale and Toby Sibbick – both instrumental in the win against West Ham – can help AFC Wimbledon to progress.
“I’ve been saying all along that the club makes history every day, the fact that the club is even here,” added Wally. “Getting into the fourth round, I’d only had that game against Fleetwood, but in the previous rounds the cameras were there thinking there could be an upset against the boys. They were the giants then and they didn’t get killed. Tonight we were the giant-killers.
“I said all along that I want to make the team young and hungry. That’s what it should be about here and certainly going into the new stadium we want to be young and hungry. I was given my chance when I came through a long time ago and at a club like ours I think it’s important that happens. You have to keep vibrant, keep learning, and keep pushing.”
The full interview with Wally is available to watch by clicking on the link above.