MK Dons boss Robbie Neilson felt the early red card for midfielder Aaron Tshibola lead to his side facing an uphill struggle that cost them the game.

The Dons boss spoke after a 4-1 home defeat to the Bantams. The side had been hopeful of extending a recent unbeaten run, but saw their gameplan hit after Tshibola’s 5th minute sending off for a foul on the edge of the box on Jake Reeves. In his comments, Neilson added that the midfielder’s mistake lead to the Dons losing the game.

He said, “There’s not a lot to say about it. We’re 3-4 minutes in and we get a man sent off. It was a bad decision for him to turn in and take extra touches on the edge of the box as you’re gonna get pressed, and from there, it was an uphill struggle.

“The players have spoken about it. He’ll be missing for the next couple of games and that’ll be his punishment. He’s caused us to lose the game today and he’ll have that on his shoulders, but we have to move on as a group and make sure we don’t do things like that again.”

The MK Dons manager did feel as though the rest of his side did work hard in spite of their man deficiency, but added that his side gave away three cheap goals during the contest.

He said, “I couldn’t ask any more from the rest of the players – the 10 that stayed on and the guys who came on as subs worked so hard. The disappointing thing is we gave up goals – 2 from set plays and one from a deflection. Its disappointing. We’ve got 10 men but these are situations we can usually handle.

“I thought we were in the game for a lot of it. We went for 2 banks of 4 with a striker and we knew we needed a link, which is why we bought Aneke on. Over the course of the game, we were probably up there in chances created. We created quite a few and could’ve scored a few goals, but in games like this with 10, we need the referee to make the right decisions at the right time, and he didn’t.”

The Dons boss felt his team’s opponents will be a likely promotion challenger at the end of the campaign, and said his team showed some positive signs against their opponents and that they could look to build on it in upcoming contests.

He said, “They’ll definitely be there or thereabouts – they’re a top team with a top manager and you see today against ten men, they had a lot of the play. But we’re still fighting to get up there as well and I do believe there are positives to take there. We were down to 10 men for almost 90 minutes, maybe even more with injury time, and we didn’t give up a lot, and they didn’t play through us. We can only build on that and try and move on.”