Karl Robinson knows his side cannot afford to get carried away with their league position, despite sitting on top of the Championship.
Robinson watched on as his side ruthlessly beat Rotherham 4-1 at the AESSEAL New York Stadium in their bow in the second tier, with goals from Rob Hall, Jordan Spence, Dean Bowditch and Carl Baker sending the Championship new boys to the summit.
But far from getting over-excited with the table, with 45 games still to go, Robinson has warned his players not to let it go to their heads, knowing bigger and harder challenges are yet to come.
“Many teams have been too confident and too arrogant about how good they are,” Robinson said afterwards. “We’re here today because of our work ethic. Together we’re very strong and if we stick together, we’ll be OK.
“If you tell me this in April, I’ll be extremely happy!
“We’re really humbled by the performance today.
“We put in a really assured performance, apart from a 15 minute spell when we were really poor and they should have gone ahead.
“We scored a fortunate goal against the run of play and we didn’t look back. We looked sensational.
“We were scrappy in the second half and our ball retention wasn’t what we wanted but we’re playing a team who has been at this level for 12 months, so I can’t really ask for much more. If I do, I’d be a bit picky.
“We came into the game with no fear. We’re very confident. The fact that we’re tipped to go down in tremendous motivation. We know where we are financially.
“For the first day of the season, we’re very happy. But it’s August 8, we cannot get carried away.”
Carl Baker’s goal was the pick of the bunch in the second period, putting the icing on the cake as he came off the bench to make it 4-1.
Robinson left out last season’s Player of the Year, but brought him on with 21 minutes remaining and he rattled home the fourth with a superb turn and shot in front of the travelling Dons supporters.
While angry at being left out, Robinson heaped praise on Baker for his professionalism in the build-up, and said there are a lot of players who could learn from the 32-year-old.
Robinson added: “I hope he was proving a point. It’s never personal to not pick a player. But I decided not to go with him today.
“But he trained on Thursday and Friday like he was ready to play. And he took his chance.
“How he’s conducted himself over the last 48 hours is exactly how any footballer should react to not being picked to play.”