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MANAGER: Our game plan worked

22 October 2013

Graham Kavanagh on the MK Dons victory

We spoke to manager Graham Kavanagh following the pleasing away victory at MK Dons. 

"It has been a difficult couple of days for the players," he said. "It was vitally important that they gave us a performance tonight, especially after the result at Oldham on Saturday. Everything we worked on during training on Sunday and Monday has come to fruition and we're all very pleased with the win. 

"I thought they kept us under pressure but if anybody was going to score it was going to be us catching them on the counter attack. 

"We know we're going to come up against some good teams who have a lot of possession of the ball, but our players need to start believing in the way we play. They doubt themselves at times, which can be frustrating, but when they play to the level we all know they're capable of they're a very difficult side to break down."

"There's no shame in losing a game but I was very disappointed with how we lost on Saturday," he admitted."The manner and the style in which we lost was the complete opposite to what we've been doing in the previous games. 

"We're not always going to pass the ball with great quality and cut teams open but we can always be resilient with our shape. As the game grew tonight you could sense frustration from their fans, but our game plan worked and you've got to give the players a great deal of credit for that."

"I wouldn't single any players out tonight because I thought every single one of them was absolutely outstanding," he continued. "We knew Lewis [Guy] would struggle towards the end with his fitness, because he hasn't played, but it was important for us to use his experience and intelligence to give us a platform to build on. 

"When we didn't have the ball he dropped in behind to make the game narrow so they had to play around us. That meant that although they were working us with the ball, we were working them without it. It sounds pretty simple, but it isn't because you need a lot of intelligence to do that.

"I had a bit of a go at Brad [Potts] and Dave [Symington] on the bus on the way down because I felt they needed to step up and be men instead of boys. You can tell that they're good players and I thought they both showed that tonight."

"Karl [Robinson] has a very good team here and I'm sure they'll win a lot more games than they'll lose," he continued. "They had a couple of players missing tonight but it was up to us to capitalise on that, and that's exactly what we did." 

On the injury to Leon McSweeney, he said: "He's got a tight calf but he wasn't sure if he'd pulled it or taken a kick on it. We couldn't risk him and we'd already talked about what we would do if that did happen. 

"We knew we could put Danny [Livesey] in and move Pascal [Chimbonda] to right back and that worked well for us tonight. Pascal has really grown into his role in the team and you can see that he's getting used to the way we play already. He looked like he'd been in the team for months."

"John [Nixon] and Andrew [Jenkins] have been fantastic in helping with the players we've wanted to bring in," he insisted. "The majority of the paperwork for Prince [Buaben] has been completed now. When I was a player and I knew someone else was coming in, I would always raise my game a little bit. 

"They know he'll be looking to take their shirt, so getting him down here was a nice reminder to the players that they need to perform because there is somebody waiting to take their place."

"There are no easy games in this league," he said. "If the players didn't buy into and understand what we're trying to do then we wouldn't be getting results. 

"It will be a tough game on Saturday but if we can show the same level of intelligence that we have tonight then we'll be difficult to beat. We've tried to simplify the game for the players because we want them to understand the roles they have in the system we play. You can see that they're all buying into it because we've now played seven games and only lost one."

"If we can get a victory at the weekend we'll start looking at where we are and where we want to be," he commented. "We won't be getting carried away with our form at the moment but we will go into Saturday's game very high on confidence."

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