Wally Downes saluted the togetherness of his players after a sixth win in the last nine league games moved AFC Wimbledon closer to League One safety.
The manager made three changes to his starting line-up at Scunthorpe today, but another victory followed, and Wally has been delighted with the response from players not selected in the team.
“It’s not an easy part of my job, but I have to challenge them and support them,” said Wally. I make decisions that they are not going to be happy about, but I’ve said since I came here that it’s not about just 11 players to win football matches nowadays. It’s a squad game and it’s equally as bad leaving players at home. We work hard all week and fortunately the players are fully behind what we are trying to do. They will come in on Monday morning and we will start again.
“When I was appointed I said it was all about being consistent and making sure that the players do the jobs that they are given. That they do them well and do them consistently. I look at them now and I know they are doing their jobs. If you do your jobs well, then good things happen. It’s happening for us now, but I will make them well aware that if they stop doing the jobs that they are expected to do then the results won’t be as good. It’s very difficult to win football matches, you have to be on your mettle all the time, so I’m pleased that they are doing that.”
Wally praised the resilience of his team today after they defied a potential fightback from Scunthorpe.
“We performed really well in the first-half and I thought we were well worth the lead. I’d have liked to have kept them out for a bit longer as 2-1 up away from home with 10 minutes to go, I don’t care which team you are, there is pressure going to be put on you. Just by the constant wave of balls coming into your box and from all angles you will be under pressure, but full credit to the boys as they stood their ground.
“They didn’t allow the opposition to score again, which was sort of the way the game was heading, the way in which most people in the ground may have thought it would have gone. It could have gone to 2-2 and a barnstorming finish with people saying, ‘well done Scunthorpe, they’ve thrown a lead away’, but we didn’t. We showed resilience and we toughed it out to get the result that we needed.
“I think the only time we’ve been 2-0 up was at Fleetwood in the cup. I said to them that the game would change because it was the cup. I’d like to have got a 2-0 win because that shows you were dominant and you’ve seen the game out properly, but it’s a stepping stone for us to know that when you have to stand-up and be counted, to defend for your lives, which we did for the last four or five minutes, that we can do it. That was pleasing for us.”
“James got two great goals and he was too good for their back four. He was a great tool for us today, but he had a lot of back-up. Joe Pigott was terrific around him and they looked a good combination today.”
The full interview with Wally is available to watch by clicking on the link to our iFollow channel above.
Pic credit: Paul Thompson, Pro Sports Images.