Martin 'picked the wrong team' to start against Wigan

Wigan Athletic 3-0 MK Dons

Saturday, 6th March 2021, 5:49 pm
Russell Martin

Dons boss Russell Martin said he has to shoulder the responsibility for making selection errors ahead of the 3-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic.

Making three changes from the side which were beaten 3-2 by Gillingham in the week, two of those - Jordan Houghton and Daniel Harvie - were substituted after just 32 minutes as Dons were trailing and looking as bad as they have all season.

While the introduction of Zak Jules and Andrew Surman in particular made a change, two goals in the second period ensured Wigan would lift themselves off the foot of the table, while Dons dropped to 16th.

Both Houghton and Harvie have been missing recently as a result of injury - Houghton was making his first start since the end of November after ankle surgery - but Martin said he made a mistake in bringing them back too soon.

"It's my fault – I picked the wrong team," said Martin afterwards. "I picked players who haven't trained enough, and it meant we weren't able to compete well enough in the first half an hour. I take responsibility for that.

"There was some good stuff in there which was completely negated by us not being able to defend our box properly. We had a warning sign early on. But we made some changes, we looked dangerous and were camped in their half, it was attack after attack.

"They've thrown bodies in the way, blocked things, we've hit the woodwork. But from being very dominant, we conceded a second goal when the guy was free in the box. It's not good enough. They had forward momentum, were on the front foot, we gave the third goal away.

"We have to read situations better, but that's my fault."

Following the game, the Dons staff surrounded referee Anthony Backhouse after he turned down two penalty shouts - one coming just before half-time for handball. While a goal at the end of the first half may have altered the course of the game, Martin said the decision was not a key factor in the defeat.

He continued: "It's a big moment, and it's a penalty – everyone can see it, but he doesn't give it. But that's not an excuse for losing 3-0. We've been on the receiving end of some poor decisions recently, and when you're in a bad run, sometimes it seems like more goes against you.

"It has impacted the game but we have 45 minutes to put it right and we conceded two goals in the second half. It's the wrong decision but it's not the reason we lost."