MK Dons are still learning the Robbie Neilson way

Robbie Neilson
Robbie Neilson

Two months into his tenure, Robbie Neilson is beginning to see signs of his work pay off.

Swapping Scottish Premiership Hearts for League 1 MK Dons in the midst of a relegation battle raised plenty of eyebrows when Neilson moved south of the border in December to replace Karl Robinson after more than six years at the helm.

But after 11 games, four wins, four defeats and three draws, Neilson has Dons stabilised, edging ever further from the relegation zone and looking up the table once again.

"We're only two months in but you can see the improvements are coming," he said. "It takes time. There are periods in games where I think we do well, and periods where I think we need to do better, and that was highlighted on Saturday. The main thing is progression, and I think we're progressing in the right direction.

"There are a lot of positives to take from the game on Saturday. We came up against a very good team and caused them a lot of problems. We had a lot of chances and pressure."

Having scored nine goals in two games going into the clash with third placed Bolton on Saturday, Dons matched Bolton all over the pitch and, arguably, did enough to win it but had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
The result saw Dons remain 15th in League 1, though despite pushing the promotion contending Trotters all the way and extending their unbeaten league run to five games, Neilson says his side are where they are in the league for a reason.

He said: "I came in and the club was in a difficult position and hopefully we can build now. The last five games have been good - we're unbeaten with three wins against some good teams. But we have to continue that.

"What's done is done. There's a reason we are where we are. We have to continually improve the club, the players and everything about the place. You can't say we should be here, or there.

"We want to try and get as high as we can, but the only way we can do that is stick together, fans backing us and the players working as hard as they can."

"It's about confidence. They need to go into games thinking they can win it. On Saturday, although we didn't win, the nature of coming back from 1-0 at half time, we pushed right until the end and could have nicked it.

"That gives momentum too, knowing if you're behind, you can still come back into the game."

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