Karl Robinson said it was like men against boys as Dons were comfortably beaten 2-0 at home to promotion rivals Preston on Saturday.
In what was their third defeat in a row, Dons were treated to a second half masterclass of possession and domination in their own back yard, as Callum Robinson and Joe Garner scored within three second half minutes of each other to tighten their grip on the final automatic promotion spot, while Dons slip further adrift and down to fourth in the table.
Despite being a fairly level first half, which Dons just shaded, Preston were an entirely different beast in the second half and controlled the match, leading to Robinson’s frank conclusion afterwards.
“The first half was very even, and we shaded the best two chances, but in the second half, it was men against boys,” he said. “We looked weak in every area. People stopped running beyond the ball, playing square and into areas we don’t normally play.
“The ones who have been waiting for their opportunity to come in and perform, didn’t in the second half. In fact, they’ve hidden which is the most disappointing thing.
“For us to be dominated in the second half like we were at stadium:mk is the worst I’ve seen in a long time.
“It has been a poor week.”
Short of naming names, Robinson said there were some members of his side that needed to take responsibility for their performances, after the manager took defeats against Coventry and Chesterfield on the chin in the run up to Saturday’s game.
He said: “This is as low as we can get. Now it’s up to us to climb out of it. If we’d have won today, people would forget how poor we’ve been in the last few weeks. I took responsibility for large parts of that, but at certain stages, the players have to take responsibility for their own performance and not me.”
While Dons are now four points behind Preston in second, who also have a game in hand, Robinson is insisting that the fight for automatic promotion is by no means over with 11 games to go.
“Not if I’ve got anything to do with it,” he said. “Preston can’t keep up this run that they’re on, and we’re capable of going on one ourselves. With our run in, we’ve got no excuses after this now. We have to hold on to this.”
As a result of the three defeat, the Citizen understands the players will be back in at 7.30am on Sunday to rectify the run of defeats.