Improvement, not change, will reverse Dons' fortunes

"I don’t understand what a Plan B is. It’s not happening. We aren’t putting a big man on and lumping it."

Monday, 8th March 2021, 12:55 pm
Russell Martin

Russell Martin has again vehemently defended his side's style of play, but admitted his side have to deal better with the threats being caused by teams recently.

Having gone on through a hot-streak at the turn of the year, which saw them climb as high as 11th in League One, three defeats from the last four has seen them drop back to 16th, but still in touch with the teams above them. A win on Tuesday night against Blackpool could see them climb back to 12th.

Speaking after Saturday's poor 3-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic, who climbed off the foot of the table courtesy of those three points, Dean Lewington said the side need to 'find other ways' to play teams causing them problems in games without compromising the way they choose to play.And Martin agrees with his captain, but insists the style of play will not change to facilitate those minor alterations to the system which brought them so much joy just a couple of weeks ago.

"You have cycles during the season, we had a slow start and then picked up and now we’re having a tough period. It’s how teams are approaching us, we were on the back of some results and performances and teams are approaching us differently. They’ve done work on how we are hurting teams.

"We have to find solutions to find new problems, I was never focused on play-offs, I know where we are at and how much work we need. We weren’t ever excited or giddy when we were winning games and I’m not worried now we are in a sticky patch. We have real clarity in what we do and how we judge players. We are close to knowing exactly where we are going and the solutions we need to move forward.

"I spoke with Deano on the way home (from Wigan) and he’s a massive supporter of what we do and how we play and it looks brilliant. He wants to find ways to adapt to new problems like we do. It’s a credit to the boys that we are facing different problems. It’s throwing caution to the wind and testing what we do. Deano is right, we can’t lose 3-0 to Wigan, and then we say it’s working perfectly."

While the style of play comes under scrutiny whenever Dons lose a game, Martin said changing it will never be on his agenda, but doing better at what they already do has to be a priority to capitalise on the way teams are leaving space behind.

He said: "I don’t understand what a Plan B is. It’s not happening. We aren’t putting a big man on and lumping it. If you do that – there is no problem.

"It’s our way. It’s the way we see things being the right way with our players. It’s not me disrespecting teams, I respect how everyone plays. You have to do something you believe in that is clear for players and why you are doing it – the players do.

"If we get beat 3-0 at Wigan – people don’t talk about it. It’s because we are in league one and. People don’t think we should play this way.

"It’s a myth that the style the problem. It gets us to the opposition box. It gets thrown at us all the time. The guys are proving it works, we win 8 from 11 and no one says a thing. We need to get better at what we do and the identity of what we do. Otherwise you’re outcome based.

"I’m not going to do it because it works and I have a belief in this group because they are fantastic. The expectation is to grow and progress and that’s what we are doing.

"Have we got an identity yes? Do we need to get better, yes! The team hasn’t been together long and they are getting better and better.

"Man City lose yesterday and people pick on them. Everyone here buys into things and it will be successful. We’ve shown how much players can improve and buy into something."