Dons must make their pressure count, says Neilson

Dons manager Robbie Neilson says his side have to capitalise when they're on top of teams after losing 1-0 at home to Charlton on Boxing Day.

Monday, 26th December 2016, 6:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:48 pm
Robbie Neilson

Despite dominating against the Addicks in the opening half hour at Stadium MK, Dons failed to find the back of the net, and were punished five minutes before the break when Ademola Lookman scored the only goal of the game.

Charlton, managed by former Dons boss Karl Robinson, then shut-up shop, smothering Dons, prompting a second half unfriendly on the eye, and to Neilson.

"It was disappointing," he said. "The first 30, 35 minutes, until Dean Bowditch went off really, we were the better side, we were creating chances. But in any game, if you have a sustained period like that, you have to score.

"After that, we lost Bowditch and had to shift things about and it highlighted the lack of depth in the squad. We had to move people into areas they aren't comfortable playing, and it became a scrappy game.

"We controlled it until then. Charlton didn't create anything, but they had one bit of magic, creativity from that ball and we didn't narrow off enough. It was a good finish from Lookman, but even after that, no-body really had full control of it. We didn't get going because we were asking people to play out of position.

"Charlton, at 1-0, shut the shop and killed the game, wasting time, killing the flow. But it was up to us to break them down, but we haven't got that variety.

"It was a nothing game really. Once they scored, they tried to kill it, spending a lot of time with the ball out of play which makes it difficult to get any flow into the game, but it's up to us to get it going. We had small spells and period where we came to life but it wasn't to be. If you're in control for 30 minutes, you have to score. If you don't, the likelihood of you winning the game is gone.

"It was two teams who are very similar."

Nicky Maynard made his first start in nearly two months on Boxing Day, but after a bright start, found himself on the periphery of a bitty second half.

Neilson though was happy with what he saw from his striker, despite going another game without a goal.

He added: "He started well, his movement in the first half was really good. He got into some good areas, and ran the channels next to the centre halves when we played him through. His sharpness will improve with the more games he gets, but he's an intelligent player who makes good runs and his goals will come.

"The second half was a scrappy one and it was difficult for anyone to make an impact."