Ayoub Assal: Dons head coach Robbo played huge part in our successful survival fight

Ayoub Assal has hailed AFC Wimbledon head coach Mark Robinson for guiding them to safety after being handed the job back in February.

The Dons were in freefall before Robinson took temporary charge, and he impressed quickly enough to be handed the role on a permanent basis just a couple of weeks later.

And Assal, who played a key part in Wimbledon’s survival bid after being introduced to the team by Robinson, has no doubt about the impact he had.

“It all came down to Robbo,” said the 19-year-old. “When he came in, he said we’ve got 33 points to play for. It’s only 90 minutes on the pitch and then you focus on the next game. Just taking it a game at a time was the main thing, that settled everyone down and we were a lot calmer.”

Assal has impressed since his introduction to senior football, and he opened up on how he’s found it in comparison to U18s action – as well as his goals and aspirations for next year.

He added: “Everything’s more intense. The main difference I’d say is players are smarter – whereas in the U18s you can take an extra touch, [at senior level] players will nick it.

“They know when to minimise their touches and you have to read the game a bit quicker. The tempo is quicker as well. Mainly, it’s more ruthless in both boxes. If you don’t take your chance in their box, they’ll go and score in your box.”

“There are definitely goals and aspirations for next year. I don’t want to put numbers on them right now, because it’s obviously a bit early, but I definitely have them. Especially team targets, because we can push right up the table. The fans should be excited, because we can do something special.”




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