MK Dons manager Russell Martin spoke of his positives after his team’s final pre-season friendly saw them take on Spurs.
The Dons manager spoke after their last pre-season friendly ahead of the new season. Spurs won the game 3-1 at stadium, with Heung-Min Son, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura scoring for the London-based team, while John Freeman scored the Dons’ goal later on.
Martin said that the Spurs coaching staff had been very complimentary about what they saw from the Dons.
He said, “There was some brilliant stuff playing against some top class opposition. I saw so much of the stuff we’ve worked on and so much transferred from the training pitch to the pitch. Their staff have been really complimentary about the way we try and play and how we played, which is fantastic feedback for us and the players.
“It was a really positive night, forget the scoreline. There’s some mistakes and a little anxiety early on but once they’ve settled in, the team looked how we want them to look in and out of possession.”
Martin said that he was pleased the team weren’t fazed by the challenge of facing Spurs.
He said, “It would’ve been so easy tonight just to sink back, let Spurs have all the ball, hit it long and cross our fingers, then blame it on tiredness and the opposition. They didn’t do that. That’s why you saw a few mistakes at the end, but we kept trying to play the way we want to play, and I love that about them.”
This game was MK Dons’ first in front of their home fans since December, and the first without capacity restrictions since March 2020. Martin came out pre-game to applaud the fans who had turned up,
He said, “I wanted to do it because I hadn’t been out yet but heard the buzz and we’d spoken to the players quickly, so we came out a bit early. I couldn’t turn it down and just went to show my appreciation for how good they’ve been with me since I took over. It was a tough job 18 months ago but we’ve put the club in a better place and the fans are such a big part of that. They’re buying and believing in it with the way they’ve been patient with it, especially when we’re playing here, and we missed them last year. I just wanted to come out and thank them to show my gratitude and just to see and feel it for myself, selfishly. It was nice.”
Martin also praised goalkeeper Franco Ravizzoli, who was voted sponsors man of the match, and who he felt improved on his display against Bristol City.
He said, “I thought he was fantastic with good decisions and some great saves. We brought him in because he came to train for us last season after playing under my friend Sergio Torres and Chris Whelpdale at Eastbourne, who spoke highly of him.
“He’s got great pedigree coming from one of the biggest clubs in South America after being there for 8 years, but most importantly, he’s a brilliant character and great professional. He’s genuine, humble, modest, hard-working and the kind of character we want to recruit.
“The other day, he wasn’t as good as he would’ve liked to have been and was quite hard on himself, but he deserved the opportunity tonight.”
In final thoughts following the whole of the pre-season campaign, Martin said he felt the team is now ready to go.
He said, “I think it’s been great. It’s been hard work and we’re all knackered as players and staff, but we’ll all get a new lease of life when the season kicks in at the weekend. There’s been so much good stuff. The week at St George’s was incredible for the group, so much positive about with still so much to work on.
“The group is in a good place physically, which is the most important thing, and mentally they’re ready.”