Karl Robinson remained tight lipped about his MK Dons side’s promotion chances after a smash-and-grab victory over Sheffield United on Tuesday night.
Dele Alli’s 86th minute winner was enough to snatch all three points for Dons at Bramall Lane in the 1-0 win - a victory which sees Dons climb to third in the table, now just a point off the automatic promotion spots.
But with just 17 games under their belt, there’s still a long way to go in the season, even if some are beginning to wonder whether this is finally the season.
Robinson though still believes there are bigger teams in the division who could flex their muscles in January to make life harder for Dons in the final furlongs.
“People have been speaking about that for a while,” he said. “We need to have a really good look at what we want to do in January.
“The group is very strong. We can play with class and style and we can dig deep. I don’t know how much people wanted to be here last season, but everyone wants to be here now.
“People look at us, respect us and consider us a team to beat, but we’re still not one of the big four. Far from it.
“We’re always up there and knock on doors. We’re a team people want to beat, but you’ve seen a different side to us, one that I haven’t seen in a while. These results are bigger than the 6-0 results.”
It wasn’t a vintage Dons performance at Bramall Lane, but it was a performance borne out of necessity. With United hot on Dons’ heels in League 1, and the best part of 17,000 voices urging them on from the sidelines, Robinson’s side set out to do what they had to to take something from the game.
And right up until Alli’s late strike, Dons looked more than happy to take a share of the points back with them down the M1.
After that, Dons had to indulge in the uglier side of football to get home safely. Clever fouls in innocuous positions, bookings - though in Danny Green’s case, two bookings and his marching orders - and general time wasting were the order the final 10 minutes, prompting a hostile reception from the home support as Dons celebrated their win at the final whistle.
“We didn’t deserve to win,” admitted Robinson afterwards. “We weren’t great tonight, but you can’t always be as good as we were on Saturday.
“They’re a very good side, managed by a very good manager.
“I know we got booed at the end, but we did what we had to do at the end of the game, and we rolled our sleeves up. I won’t apologise for my players putting their bodies on the line.
“We haven’t done it often enough - come to a big team and win. That’s as good as it gets.
“People have commented on my sides being pretty on the eye but haven’t been able to dig results out.
“Tonight and the win at Chesterfield are two of the best performances of the season for different reasons. We haven’t overly rode our luck, but I think 0-0 was sufficient.”