Friendlies will act as an extension of Dons’ training programme

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Graham Alexander’s reaction to MK Dons’ 2-1 pre-season defeat to Wealdstone on Tuesday night

The scoreline on Tuesday night may have shown a 2-1 MK Dons defeat to Wealdstone, but Graham Alexander saw it as nothing more than a training session.

Putting his side through their physical and mental paces in the opening two weeks of pre-season training, Alexander worked his players at Woughton on the Green before they took the 50-mile trip to Grosvenor Vale to take on the National League side in their first pre-season game in front of supporters.

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Alex Dyer opened the scoring for the Stones on 25 minutes, but only after squandered chances for Mo Eisa, Jonathan Leko and Jack Tucker – the latter seeing his header cleared off the line.

The second-half saw Alex Gilbey come close before wholesale outfield changes came on 65 minutes. Zak Jules fired into the side netting before Max Dean’s sublime volley levelled things up for Alexander’s side with nine minutes to go, only got Giovanni McGregor to score an equally fine goal four minutes later to win it for the hosts.

“If we’d won 3-0, I’d be shrugging my shoulders as well,” said Alexander afterwards. “Of course we want a will to win and a winning mentality, but we have to get a physical and tactical process going, and we have to understand who works best when fatigued. It’s for us to identify individuals who need more work in certain areas, and who needs to improve.

“(The game) was an extension of our training programme. I spoke to the players ahead of training this morning to tell them to train hard, but that tonight would be a training session.

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“We’re playing real opposition, but it’s just a training day, and we’ll continue to train hard tomorrow. We worked exceptionally hard this morning too.

“There are things we can do better, and things we did quite well, but it’s just a training session really.”

And that sentiment, Alexander continued, will be the theme of all Dons’ pre-season encounters.

He added: “The only game we need to be ready for is the season opener. We will be working hard until that game, and we will go into all the pre-season games under a little bit of stress and fatigue because we won’t slow the training programme down.

“We have to be ready for Wrexham, not for tonight, not for Saturday, not for the game we’ll play in Germany.”

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