MK Dons Head Coach Liam Manning praised his team for their “professional” performance in seeing off AFC Wimbledon at stadium mk.

In his press conference after a 1-0 victory, Manning held particular praise for how his team managed the second half in order to claim victory in the League One fixture – a result that moves his side up to 5th in the table.

He said, “I thought a real professional performance in the second half. Conceded no shots on target. The danger sometimes when you’re 1 up against ten men can be to go chase it and we didn’t need to do that. We had some decent chances as well I thought through Theo and Twiney, and we showed a real level of professionalism second half in terms of controlling and managing the game and that the biggest thing was finishing with the three points.”

Manning also praised the fans for their work generating a lively atmosphere.

He said, “I have to say I thought the fans helped us get over the line tonight. The atmosphere was incredible and look at it in the second half of the season, it’s gonna be key if they turn up every week and do what they did tonight. It was massive. Huge appreciation from me, players and staff in terms of the atmosphere tonight as it helped us see it through.”

The winning goal came from Matt O’Riley just before the half hour, with the move starting by MK Dons winning the ball high up the pitch, and Manning said that it demonstrated a strength of his team in being able to press high to win the ball back.

He said, “It’s one we’ve spoken around. I think we’ve looked at that in terms of how as a team we look at our best when we’re on the front foot and when we take it to the opposition when we try and engage higher up. From a disciplined structure, that’s the key to it. I thought we did that really well again today. It just allows us to be closer and be dangerous. I thought we counter-pressed really well and looked dangerous on the counter attack. It’s then a case of can you get the extra shot at the end of it.”

The game saw the Dons had a debut to new signing Theo Corbeanu, who has arrived on loan from Wolves, and Manning said that he offered a good threat after just a single introductory training session.

He said, “He looked a threat and you can see he brings a different dimension. He looks to take people in, such as the one where he cuts inside on his right foot and flashes one past the post. I was pleased with him tonight. He’s only had one session with us so there’s also the case of getting him up to speed with things tactically and understanding how we play, but he should be pleased with how he did tonight.”

Also making an EFL debut was Franco Ravizzoli, who was placed into the slot after the departure of first choice Andy Fisher to Swansea City. Manning said that he thought his keeper played very well on his introduction, and that he was showing improvement to his game.

He said, “He’s a terrific character, Franco, he’s a real team player. He stepped in, did well tonight, showed a good level of composure and his kicking was good. Huge credit goes to him and Lewis Price in terms of the work they do day in, day out. He’s got better and he did well tonight.”

The loss of Fisher is one of several challenges that the Dons have faced in Manning’s first season in charge, but the Dons boss was happy that his team are still largely able to control things and face these extra tasks.

He said, “I think it’s a big thing for the group in terms of what they have got is a real closeness and togetherness we have to keep. With covid and the change of head coach at the start of the year, they’ve had a few moments where they’ve had challenges. What I know about the group is that they focus on the things which are important, which is the controllables, like turning up tonight and they did.”