MK Dons Head Coach Liam Manning praised his team’s work in managing their game against Portsmouth at stadium mk.
Manning spoke after his team’s 1-0 win against Pompey at stadium mk. A second half goal by Ethan Robson got the Dons the points, which is their third straight home win.
Speaking after the game, Manning said that the team’s first half work was great and that while the second wasn’t quite right, the team’s quality was able to breakthrough and grab the decisive goal.
He said, “It’s obviously nice to be on the end of a positive result. It was a really tough game against really difficult opposition. I have to say in the first half especially we looked terrific. I thought we created some really good chances and looked really dangerous throughout the game. We could’ve controlled possession a little bit more to conserve energy at times and manage that aspect of the game, but we were disappointed not to come in ahead at half-time.
“Then it flipped a little second half. They got on top and we didn’t get the press quite right. But what it shows is even though we’re up against it, the quality we have throughout the team means we can go hurt teams. The goal was a terrific moment with an outstanding piece of quality.”
Speaking about the difference between the halves, Manning said he tweaked the team’s system to try and be more difficult to break down, and duly managed to seize control of the game by limiting Portsmouth’s chance creation before striking the decisive goal.
He said, “I thought that we struggled to press higher up but I don’t think they overly hurt us from it doing it too often. Just before we scored, I thought we struggled higher up the pitch, but not so much in terms of getting punished by it. We tried to tweak it by bringing in Josh McEachran on to go 3 in there just to concede space wide to be more difficult to go through. I thought we did that really well to be fair. The goal then obviously comes at a perfect moment for us. It’s like a double punch in the stomach for them in terms of they’re on top but can’t create and we score against the run of play, and after that we looked dangerous and could’ve nicked another goal or two.”
Talking about the goal itself, Manning said he felt it demonstrated the intensity he was looking for his team to produce.
He said, “It epitomises what the group is all about in terms of that real desire to run and get forward and break forward. It was a big part of the game. We spoke about it beforehand that every week in this league, you get games where the physical intensity is really high. What we have to do is make sure mentally, our intensity matches that, and you see that with the length of the runs to get into the box and score.”
With this being the Dons’ third home win in a row, Manning said it was demonstrating that the club had a good routine being developed for home matches and that he wanted it to continue.
He said, “I’d like to become a place where teams don’t want to come here because of how we play and dominate with and without the ball. I think we’ve done that. Even in the Sunderland game, we showed it a bit in the second half. Since then, to be fair, I think the guys have got a good routine here and we feel comfortable here. The pitch is terrific and we’re able to make it big and make opposition run. If we want to do well this season, we have to make sure we pick up as many points at home as we can.”