‘Inept’ – Dons boss unhappy with first-half display but happy to see improvement in second period

AFC Wimbledon head coach Mark Robinson called his side’s first-half performance against Burton Albion “inept” but was much happier with their second-half display.

The Dons dominated the first half but lacked the cutting edge to find their way past a stubborn Burton defence.

Despite going a goal down in the second half after Anthony Hartigan’s misplaced backpass allowed Kane Hemmings to pounce and slot the ball past Nik Tzanev, the South Londoners fought their way back into the game.

Wimbledon found their equaliser in the 90th minute when Luke McCormick fired home Aaron Pressley’s knockdown inside the area.

“The first half was poor,” said Robinson. “It was so uneventful – two teams lacking in confidence. I have talked to the lads. You do your match prep – you watch the opposition. I watched them against Portsmouth and how aggressive they were and pressing all over the pitch. We talked about drawing them out, and then we would be able to find space, and they didn’t do that – they sat in.

“This is why I am so massive on player ownership and them understanding the game and making decisions. You can do your work, and the team changes what they do, and you end up with what you had in the first half, which was a real inept performance from us.

“We didn’t threaten them, and I’m sure Jimmy [Floyd Hasselbaink] wasn’t happy with their performance. We had to change the formation, which meant we could play around the outside of their shape, and obviously, we got more success. We made an error through the goal. We were much better in the second half and carried more of a threat.”

AFC Wimbledon v Burton Albion SkyBet League One, Cherry Red Records Stadium, 02 October 2021

When Wimbledon conceded in the 66th minute, they rediscovered the fighting spirit they had in the opening stage of the season, with Robinson’s side throwing everything at Burton in search of an equaliser.

Robinson added: “I’m not sure we were low on confidence, but you start to possibly have a little bit of lack of belief. I said that it was so key that we got back to ‘us’ today because we went away from ‘us’ a little bit against Rotherham.

“Fundamentally, it’s good that we got the goal and not had another loss. But what is more important is that they keep turning up to training, want to improve and want to understand the game better, so no matter what sort of challenge we come up against, we can react a lot better and don’t have inept first halves like we did today.”

PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD

 


 

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