Playing with a back four gives Dons extra options

“It fell into our hands a little bit, but credit to the guys for doing it.”

By The Newsroom
Monday, 24th January 2022, 3:14 pm
<p>Liam Manning said he was happy with the way his defence coped with the change in setup on Saturday</p>

Liam Manning said he was happy with the way his defence coped with the change in setup on Saturday

It was a case of needs must as MK Dons lined up with a back four on Saturday, but Liam Manning was impressed by what he saw.

Usually deploying three centre-backs with attacking wing-backs flanking them, injuries to both Harry Darling and Aden Baldwin left Dons short on numbers for the visit of Doncaster Rovers.

Warren O’Hora and Dean Lewington lined up in the centre with Daniel Harvie and Tennai Watson either side to make up the four - the first time Manning has had to dramatically alter his formation as a result of a shortage of numbers.

With neither Darling nor Baldwin are expected back for Tuesday’s trip to Burton Albion, the back four is likely to remain in place at the Pirelli Stadium, and Manning said having that option gives them something to consider in the future.

He said: “It’s a nice place to be heading to, with a group who can adapt and it should make it harder for the opposition to set up a game plan when they don’t know how we’ll setup.

“It fell into our hands a little bit, but credit to the guys for doing it.

“They dealt with it well (on Saturday). Skip and Woz really aligned and T had a really solid game and there were a huge amount of positives to come out of it.

“It comes down to challenging the players to think, so they can identify and solve problems. The lads know we want to create certain things in possession and concede and deny space out of possession. The fluidity and rotation gives us balance in the structure and freedom to move and adapt as well.”