Mark Robinson was pleased with the feedback from his players today after holding meetings ahead of our midweek match versus Gillingham.
Despite a 3-3 draw at Plough Lane on Saturday that was hugely entertaining, Robbo felt that the first-half slipped well below the standards he expects – and coming up with solutions was a key part of today at the training ground.
“I felt that we looked nervous and the occasion got to the players,” said Robbo. “We’ve gone through it at length today, including things we need to do if we are going to go to places like the Stadium of Light on Saturday and get a result, and before that the kind of challenge we are going to face tomorrow night.
"We’ve got to put our personality on the play, and make sure that we do these things. The players totally agree, I was showing them the clips and they had the answers before I had finished. We need to make sure that we are stamping our personality on games. If we lose a game we have to lose it doing what we do, not because we have gone into our shells a bit.
“There were a lot of things I wasn’t happy about. We needed to go through it in detail and find out why things went wrong, without it being a persecution. We wanted to get the players to talk, and that’s what they have done. We’ve spoken openly, and we’ve gone through it, which is good, because you then feel you are in a better place ahead of tomorrow night. We’ve been quite honest with each other and we just have to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. I felt at 3-1 that the performance changed, and the shackles came off, which showed me that they were nervous.”
The Dons will be boosted for the visit of Gills with the availability of Paul Osew, who has recovered from the concussion that he suffered at Charlton on Tuesday.
Asked if Dapo Mebude and Aaron Pressley were in contention to start after their goalscoring substitute appearances on Saturday, Robbo said: “Everyone is staking a claim. I’ve had meetings with a couple of players this morning, and I’ve got to get to know the players as well, and know that I can trust them in everything we do, on and off the ball. That takes a bit of time because they need to fully understand what is expected, but I was really pleased with them (Aaron and Dapo) on Saturday when they came on.
“Everyone has to be staking a claim, that’s what I keep explaining to the lads. We’ve got a really good and talented squad with depth. They all need to stake a claim, but what we all need to be is completely and utterly on the same page. I didn’t feel we were on the same page in the first-half on Saturday. They will definitely be in with a shout tomorrow night.”
Click on the link below to listen to Robbo’s full interview ahead of the match versus Gills.