Barton accuses Dons of 'insane decisions to play football with no purpose'

The Bristol Rovers manager also admits his side have to beat Dons to stay up this season

By Toby Lock
Monday, 19th April 2021, 1:03 pm
Updated Monday, 19th April 2021, 1:06 pm
Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton
Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton

Known to be out-spoken, Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton accused MK Dons of playing 'without purpose' last week.

His side weren't in action last Tuesday night when Dons were in action against Lincoln - the team Rovers were beaten 1-0 on Saturday to pile more pressure on the Gas in their scrap to avoid relegation to League Two - but Barton was watched the first half before switching over to the Champions League to watch how 'real football' was played.

Returning to the task at hand, Barton saw Lincoln romp to a 4-0 win before accusing Dons of making 'insane decisions' at Sincil Bank.

He said: "The first half was a bit drab and dreary and you flip over to watch the Champions League and see how real football was played. That was my key and by the time you turn back Lincoln are in the ascendancy and end up winning the game relatively comfortably.

"I’m seeing things at League One level now that I haven’t seen in a long time. Insane decisions to play football with no purpose, so I think they were given an enormous opportunity by the way MK played."

A victory for Dons will not send Rovers down, but could leave them needing to win all of their remaining games to stay in the division. Rovers will start the day in 23rd spot, six points from safety with four games remaining.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow night's clash at the Memorial Ground, Barton said Dons' midtable berth means it is a game his side must win if they are to stand any realistic chance of staying in the division.

He said: "They’re an in and out side as the league table suggests. I think they dominate possession for most of the games that they’ve played in.

"Watching them live against Lincoln during the week, they're a side that will give you opportunities but also can play some really good stuff and keep the ball for long periods if you’re not very cohesive in the way you want press them.

"So they're a team that if you want stay in the division you’ve got to beat, a team that have really nothing to play for in terms of they’re not going to go up, they’re not going to go down, and a team that if you’re fighting for your life and you need to win, then if you don’t beat them you’re in a tight spot.

"I’ve said before if you get relegated, you deserve it."