GETTING the three points was all that mattered to Mathias Doumbe as he returned to the MK Dons starting line-up for the 1-0 victory over Hartlepool on Saturday.
The defender stepped in for the injured Jon Otsemobor at right-back, but spent more time joining the attacks than dealing with trouble down his flank.
And while the performance probably warranted more than just Ryan Lowe’s 16th minute strike, Doumbe said Dons were worthy of the victory, even though they weren’t as polished as they’d have hoped.
“In the first half, we came out quite confident,” he said. “We played some good football and created good chances. We probably should have been maybe two up, but we only had one goal at half time.
“We were on top in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but Hartlepool began to get some possession and played long balls up to make it difficult for us play and it put us under pressure.
“But the most important thing is the three points. And that’s what the manager told us – just get the win. We managed to hold on to the 1-0.”
Doumbe has played a bit-part role for much of the season – stepping into the defence when needed, but more often than not, being asked to take up a role from the substitutes bench.
And the Frenchman admitted feeling frustrated and a bit rusty as he made his first start for Karl Robinson’s men since the 6-1 drubbing of Cambridge City more than a month ago.
He said: “It has been a bit frustrating, but it has given me some time to work on different things in training. You just have to wait and be ready for your opportunity.
“When you play, you want to play well. I felt a bit rusty out there because I haven’t played much recently, but overall I was pleased with my performance.
“It’s easy to play with (Dean) Bowditch because he creates a lot of chances, and Zeli (Ismail) too with his speed. All over the pitch, I felt we were quite good.”
After the 3-2 defeat to Brentford two weeks ago, Dons 10-game unbeaten run came to an abrupt end, though Doumbe and the rest of his team-mates are not concentrating on getting another run started, but know that the important Christmas period is an ideal way to pick up quick points and climb the table.
He said: “I think there’s a game for every three days over Christmas, so it’s an important period and to keep in touch with the first two.
“It’s always nice to play a lot of games and playing in front of big crowds too.
“I don’t think we are concentrating on the run so much, but more on the performances. If we perform solidly, then the run will come.”