Dons are getting closer to Martin's vision
Russell Martin is beginning to see the fruits of his labours, but knows there is still work to do to get MK Dons how he wants them.
Now six weeks into his tenure as manager, replacing Paul Tisdale on November 2, Martin has played six games, lost four, won one and drawn one (in that order). Late goals have cost his side, but improvements have undoubtedly improved since he took over. There are still glaring flaws though.
The 1-1 draw at Doncaster was as close as they have come to picking up a win in League One since mid-September, with just five minutes separating Dons from the three points. Conor McGrandles said it was the best performance the players have put in for a long time, and his manager agrees, citing signs of improvement still to come.
He said: "It was the most complete for 80 minutes. The lads were brilliant, and we were well in control. I'd have liked to turn the screw more in the last 20 minutes rather than accepting a 1-0.
"I think we know what we have to do. We've analysed what we did at the weekend, but something changed. We were excellent for most of the game, dominated, it's now about losing that anxiety and tenseness at the end of matches. We're getting fitter, which should allow us to dominate for 90 minutes as well. That doesn't happen overnight, but it's starting to show. We're improving physically and mentally.
"If we play how we how we've been playing on Saturday, improving every week, that win is coming. The players can feel it as well. Results will show progress is being made, and we had a really positive week last week. People watching can see the improvement, can see the players are growing in confidence, but we need a result to match the performances because we haven't got what we've deserved in the league in the last couple of weeks."
Having played six games in 41 days in charge, Martin admits it has been a hectic period of late, but said he has enjoyed seeing his side getting closer to how he sees them playing long-term.
"I'm really enjoying it," he said. "I've got huge belief in what we're doing, the process, the staff and even bigger belief in the players. I'm really enjoying it. When you see it transferred onto the pitch, there's not better feeling.
"It has been hectic, learning loads on the job, but I wouldn't be doing it if I wasn't enjoying it. I think everyone else is enjoying it too, that's what they're telling me anyway! You want the team to reflect you, and how you see the game.
"The most pleasing thing is that we've got so much more to give. We've got another few gears to get to, but I'm really enjoying it."