“We’re MK Dons - if we go there and pick the right team with the right system and tactics, we’ll be hard to beat,” said Dan Micciche before their trip to Oldham on Tuesday. But it didn’t happen.
It has been a baptism of fire and brimstone for Micciche. Four defeats from four games, one goal and zero points on the board leave Dons six points from League 1 safety.
"Sometimes you need to lose games to win games," Micciche continued. "We've learned some harsh lessons but it will help us in the short, medium and long term."
On the pitch, the style of football has changed, but the results haven’t. Micciche insists confidence is high in the dressing room, but on the field it looks a lot different. After conceding goals, Dons visibly sink.
Letting in a late equaliser against Portsmouth on Saturday inevitably led to a stoppage time winner for Pompey, while Dons didn’t even register a shot on goal after Oldham’s 39th minute goal on Tuesday night.
And it made for one of the worst games of football Dons fans will have seen for a long time.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” said Micciche afterwards. “We will do everything we can to win on Saturday, it’s a massive game - I’m under no illusions.
“There are still plenty of points to play for, and mathematically we can climb way up the league.
“We’ve seen other teams do it, but we just need that first win. Once we do that, build momentum we can get some confidence in the dressing room.”
Taking on promotion chasing Charlton, managed by former boss Karl Robinson, this Saturday precedes away games against bottom club Rochdale and Fleetwood, who are dropping like a stone. Dons simply have to win at least two of those.
And that first win cannot come soon enough, especially with the gap to safety now two wins - and they’ve only won two league games since the end of September.