MK Dons’ Jack Payne said it was a positive for the team to take a point despite not playing to their highest level.

The midfielder spoke after scoring in the Dons’ 1-1 draw with Grimsby Town at Stadium MK, with the man on loan from Charlton saying that they weren’t playing at their best level in the first half, but that it was a positive to keep going and rescue a point.

He said, “We weren’t quite at the races today, especially in the first half. We weren’t quite ourselves. I thought it was a lot better in the second half and we could’ve come away with a win but when you’re not at the races, you just make sure you don’t lose and we’ve done that. We’ve just got to take the positives and move on.”

When asked about what was missing in the first half, he said, “It’s tough to say. Coming into the game, we felt really confident as a group. I don’t know if Grimsby took us by surprise – I thought they were quite good, to give them credit. But whether we’re at home or anywhere, we expect to be better than that and we weren’t quite at the races. It’s going to happen sometimes but on them nights, you’ve got to make sure you get something from the game and that’s a positive.”

Payne said that no major chances were discussed at the break, but the team reinforced the need to do basic elements better and felt it helped.

He said, “The gaffer came in and let a few people speak as normal. There were only minor tweaks but it was more just about the temperament in our play, moving the ball quicker, getting to second balls and just the basic things you’d expect to do all of them better. It’ll help us as a group massively and it did in the second half. We had a lot more control and shame we didn’t win.”

Payne added he was pleased to contribute with the equaliser, and also praised Alex Gilbey for his work in the build-up.

He said, “Always nice to chip in a goal. It’s nicer if it helps you win, but it was a great cutback from Gilbs and I was buzzing when I saw it hit the back of the net. I was just gutted we didn’t build on that and get the three points.”

The Dons have a break until their next games at the start of the busy Christmas rush, and Payne said the team’s good mood in training was something he felt could translate to getting ready to add more points to their total.

He said, “Usually, when there’s not a game and you’re training, it’s sort of a bit like going through the motions. But it’s been really good. We’ve really enjoyed the training, all the lads have been loving coming in and we’ve got another opportunity to get some training in our legs before a big block of games. When there’s not a game, you’ve got to use it as an opportunity to improve and when there are games, you’ve got to get as many points as possible and keep performances to a high level.”