Dons may have lost the battle on Tuesday night, but Karl Robinson insists they are still well in the war for promotion.
The team from MK1 suffered their second defeat in three days on Tuesday night, going down 2-1 to Chesterfield at stadium:mk - a result which saw them drop out of the automatic promotion spots.
This Saturday’s opponents Preston replace Dons in second spot as they salvaged a late point against Doncaster, moving them a point clear and with a game in hand.
But with 13 games remaining, Robinson insists his side are still in the fight.
“We lost the battle tonight,” he said. “But we’re still well in the war. It’s time for us to roll our sleeves up. If we’re going to get beaten, they’re going to have to kill us and stamp us to the ground. We have to stick together now.”
Despite taking a 1-0 lead against Chesterfield through Lewis Baker’s first goal for the club, Dons failed to spark. In the second half, Jordan Spence gifted Gary Roberts an opening which he duly rattled home to equalise, before Dean Lewington was given his marching orders for a second booking with 10 minutes to go.
It appeared as though Dons would hold on, but a late Caolan Lavery goal earned the Spireites all three points on a night Robinson admitted his side deserved nothing.
He said: “We know we weren’t good enough, none of us. I have to take responsibility for that. It was the team I put out and it didn’t perform. It was flat.
“I asked them for more, but I don’t know what it was. I can’t have a go at the players. There were nerves in certain areas, and that went through the team.
“We need to get that right, but I won’t single anyone out. We looked a little lost today.
“A point would’ve been a good result with five minutes to go with the results around us, but they picked us off. He’s tapped it in from inside three yards. Both goals were ridiculously poor.
“None of the mistakes were through our style, I didn’t see that tonight, I didn’t see anything tonight.”