Dons are putting set-pieces under the microscope to prevent conceding again

"It has to be a mentality thing as well as physically"

Friday, 5th March 2021, 4:58 pm
Northampton's opening goal came from a free kick into the box

Set-pieces have been a thorn in MK Dons' side of late. In the last four games, six of the nine goals they have conceded have come from them, and it's something Russell Martin is eager to put right.

As a former defender, conceding from set plays is almost sacreligious for Martin, especially after two Gillingham long throws resulted in goals for the home side on Tuesday night. Set-pieces also caused Dons to concede twice against Northampton and twice against Shrewsbury (two penalties) so the way Dons are defending them has come under the microscope even more in training in recently weeks.

Although Gillingham's long throws were subject of Dons' approach ahead of Tuesday night's 3-2 defeat, Martin said more work will be done to prepare the team for coping with set plays, including just firing long balls at them in training.

"There will be some of it," he said. "It's hard to replicate the intensity of a match. It has to be a mentality thing as well as physically.

"The process to fix it is much quicker and painless than our opening goal because that’s not normal to score a goal like that. If we can stop the goals we are coneding we can really kick on."

"It can't be enough to beat us, we’ve had too many penalties lately. We’ve spoken about it this week. We’re really close to being a really good team and it’s holding us back at the moment."