Mitch Hancox felt MK Dons' team-talk at half time sparked them into life in the 3-0 defeat away at Luton Town on Tuesday night.
With manager Paul Tisdale making eight changes to the side which beat Cheltenham comfortably 3-0 at the weekend, Dons were 2-0 down by the half hour mark as League 1's form side Luton threatened to be out of sight by the interval.
Goals from Alan Sheehan and Kazenga LuaLua gave them a two-goal cushion at half time, prompting Tisdale to make a triple change at the break. But Hancox, back in the side for the first time since September and the last Checkatrade Trophy game with Peterborough, said he felt the half-time team-talk gave Dons a new energy for the second half.
"We said at half time we were half-a-yard off it, and I think in the second half, we changed shape and really got in their faces," he said. "At the end of the day, it's a learning curve, we've got minutes in the tank, it's a shame we've lost but we go again on Saturday.
"They're (Luton) good players, they're doing really well in League 1. It was a good run out for the boys, but you never like losing any games. I felt in parts we did well but we showed a bit of inexperience for their goals. Stuart (Moore) has made a few good saves.
"At 2-0, the keeper has pulled off two worldies in the double save. If we'd have got that, it would have been a different game."