MK Dons cannot afford to get too bogged down by the thumping they received by Burnley on Tuesday night.
Losing 5-0 at home is never going to be a good result, regardless of opposition or the manner in which the lashings were dealt.
But in the cold light of day, Tuesday’s result, frankly, isn’t even the worst result of the season.
It’s common parlance to say the Championship is effectively two divisions, split between the sides who can afford to buy, and indeed sell £10 million strikers, and those who can’t. While Burnley operate in the former category, Dons most certainly fall into the latter.
Realistically, even a point against Sean Dyche’s side would have been something of a success. Burnley are desperately seeking an immediate return to the Premier League from which they were relegated last season. They’ve splashed the cash and have the fruits to show for it, nestled nicely in the play-off spots, ready to mount a serious challenge for the automatic places.
Dons meanwhile are desperately seeking to keep their heads above the relegation zone, more than happy to spend next season in the second tier with barely two pennies to rub together. The difference between the two sides is night and day.
That certainly doesn’t excuse the second 45 minutes at stadium:mk, which saw Dons capitulate during a Burnley finishing showcase which saw them rattle home four goals to add to Joey Barton’s first half opener.
In fact, until Sam Vokes made it 2-0 32 seconds after the restart, Dons looked good value for a point. As their capitulation and Burnley’s ruthlessness in front of goal intersected, the 5-0 scoreline flattered to deceive: it wasn’t as bad a defeat as the 2-0 loss at Huddersfield was back in October.
Games against the bottom tier of clubs will be far more important to Dons than anything else in the remainder of this season. Naturally, they’ll approach every game with the intention of winning it, but truthfully any points they can pick up against the league’s top sides will mean all the more if it keeps them ticking over until they can beat some of those in a similar battle to stay up.
Dons have mixed it with the bigger teams and come away with nothing, but also have performed admirably and come away with less than they deserved on countless occasions this season too. But on a night when Dons lose by five to a play-off side, relegation candidates Charlton lost by the same scoreline to Huddersfield.
Yes, the scoreline is embarrassing. Yes, Burnley were comfortable. No, Dons didn’t really look like threatening. But though they were on the same pitch, they’re hardly in the same league.
Dons have to concentrate on picking up everything possible against their rivals if they are to stay up this season. Everything else is just a bonus.