Wally Downes believes there’s still plenty to play for in the battle to stay up after Wimbledon's winning run came to an end against Gillingham.
Due to results elsewhere today, it’s still just a three-point gap to the safety zone in League One, but the manager is focusing on ensuring that the mentality of his players is right in the remaining seven games.
Speaking during his post-match interview for iFollow, Wally said: “I told the players it would have been great if we could have stayed undefeated in the remaining games, winning every match, but the odds were that we probably weren’t going to do that. We lost today, but it’s just another bump in the road and we go again on Saturday.
“I said to them before the game that I was more concerned that we played the way we had been playing in today's game. If we were side-tracked by our success and went off message, then that would have been a disappointment for me. I wanted to make sure that they played the way we had been playing and for the first-half we did that. It hasn’t made a great deal of difference, but it’s proved to us that we are not infallible and we’ve got to keep that underdog mentality. We have got to battle for every point that we get. We will do what we always do. We will look at the game, we will review it. We will get it out of the way, try to learn from it, and then we go again on Monday morning.”
Our manager said it was always going to be difficult to come back from conceding a third goal so early in the second-half.
“At half-time, I said to the players that I was confident they could go and win the game. For 43 minutes, we played really well and for two minutes we played badly and got punished. I was confident we could win the second-half. If we could have won the second-half we would have got a draw, but unfortunately a lapse from a throw-in and a silly goal to give away meant that we were 3-1 down. Then you have a mountain to climb.
“If we’d have put a couple of the other chances away that we had earlier on, the game would have been different, but conceding two goals in three minutes was a body blow for us. Then when you concede straight away in the second-half, it’s very difficult to come back from that.”
Wally admitted it was harsh on goalscorer Michael Folivi to be substituted, but the manager said he had to be sacrificed to try something different in the last half hour of the game.
“If you play with Dylan, he is a fast winger who gets crosses in, and the team structure changes a little bit. If you put Hanson on then you have to get the ball into the box to him. Joe is scoring goals and Michael was unfortunate. When you are chasing a game you have to go a bit more direct than you are used to, so there are going to be casualties. It was the same with 'Waggy' and Anthony."