This Dons side could achieve great things

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Karl Robinson let something slip this week - he’s a very happy man at the moment.

Meeting the man out and about in Milton Keynes, few would think that’s anything out of the ordinary, but in front of the media, it has been a far more coy Dons boss than in previous seasons.

Perhaps burned by sweeping statement and predictions in previous years, Robinson has been far more reserved with a dictaphone in front of him.

But in the aftermath of the vital 2-1 victory over Swindon on Saturday - a win which saw Dons climb to third in League 1 - Robinson admitted that he’s on top of the world, and for a number of different reasons.

“I couldn’t happier at the moment,” he said. “It’s the best group I’ve had. There’s nobody in there that I wouldn’t want in there.

“There’s now an edge to us that we didn’t have for a while. It has taken us a while to get there, and we didn’t get there overnight.”

After a performance like the one Dons showed on Saturday against one of League 1’s form sides, Robinson has good reason to be cooing about his charges.

Poor performances have, by and large, been few and far between this season.

Naturally, there have been periods in games when Dons’ style and mentality have gone out of the window, but on Saturday, there was a urgent mentality from the off as they competently muted Swindon’s attacking threat, while stifling their potent midfield.

And the performance was not only one that Robinson believes could have been the best of the season, but also one that could make his players sit up and realise just how much they could achieve this season.

“It’s hard to say that when you’ve beaten Manchester United 4-0!” Robinson laughed, when asked whether it was the best performance.

“At home yes. Barnsley and Yeovil away from home stand out. We’ve had some really good results this year.

“As a spectacle, there won’t be many games better than that. It was very, very good.

“Saturday was a big game for us. If the players needed shaking up to make them realise how good they are, that was it.

“This group could achieve good things. It could do, but only with a good work ethic, a grounded mentality, a grounded attitude, applying the details of the match preparation and their own abilities.”

So what does Robinson put the change down to?

He said: “There’s a different mentality. We’re more mature. We don’t get too carried away with wins or defeats.

“We’re more focussed, and we’re performing better.

“We’ve almost shut the door to the dressing room. We’re so tight, players and staff.

“We need to make sure we’re not worried by the external influences.

“In that dressing room, we know what our aim is, and that our focus doesn’t deteriorate by individual errors. In our dressing room, we go again and have believe in each other’s abilities.”

The league table makes for nice viewing at the moment, and it will for at least another two weeks as Football League clubs take a week off and venture into FA Cup territory, but at the beginning of November, it’s largely still irrelevant.

And it’s something the manager is keen to reiterate to his players.

He said: “We all know where we are. When we come into work, we see the TV with the league table, but you only need to look at the date and realise it doesn’t mean anything.

“If I was bottom of the league, of course I’d be worried, but we believe every game we go into and we can win it.”