“What are we waiting for?”: Manning questions Dons’ slow starts to games

“Let’s turn up and start games like that and we’ll be in a much better position”
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Liam Manning wants MK Dons to start matches the way they have been ending them recently, asking ‘what are we waiting for?’

After a patient but slow start to proceedings at Stadium MK on Saturday against Burton, Dons fell behind when Josh McEachran fouled Corrie Ndaba, forcing the hosts to chase a way back into the game.

Dominating the second half, they only made their breakthrough to equalise with seven minutes to go, but picking up a point against their relegation rivals meant they still dropped a spot to 22nd in League One.

In recent games, performances have amped up after Dons have fallen behind - notably against Wycombe, Portsmouth and Burton - with Manning urging his side to start with the same intensity they finish wish.

“That's the challenge - what are we waiting for?” he said. “Let's turn up and start games like that and we'll be in a much better position.

“The lads need to step up and believe it. We believe in them as a staff, and they have shown they can control games, but we have to start games like that. And when we do, we're a strong side.

“It's not ideal to go a goal behind. But it's not just the goal, but our control of games and the momentum. They didn't cause us many problems, that for me is the biggest issue. It has to be all about us, taking initiative and starting games better.”

While Dons had control of the second-half on Saturday against the Brewers, Dino Maamria’s side had little urgency to go and chase a second goal to make sure, giving the hosts the reins.

Manning argued though Burton’s lack of opportunity after the break was down to the way Dons controlled the game rather than a standoffish approach from the visitors.

Manning continued: “The lads did a good job of pinning Burton in rather than a conscious effort from them to sit off us.

“We made tweaks at half-time, like at Portsmouth, to pen them in and not allow teams out. That was the difference in the two halves. We just didn't have enough consistency.”