Neilson sets out his targets for a new MK Dons
A week into Robbie Neilson's tenure as MK Dons manager, the club are on the brink of their biggest game of the season.
Irrespective of Saturday's opposition - who just so happen to be AFC Wimbledon - Neilson's first game in charge at Stadium MK was bound to be a critical one, one to show the new fanbase what he's made of and what he wants his MK Dons to represent.
After six years under the old regime, fans have been used to football in a certain way. Karl Robinson's style became synonymous with the club but the current squad leaves Neilson short on options, alternatives, and plenty of food for thought ahead of the January transfer window.Ultimately though, Neilson wants a team fans can get behind.
"Hopefully a team that wins," he explained. "We need variety, we need to be able to change, play different styles. The way the team has been playing for the last five or six years has reflected the club really - sometimes the passing and the movement has been fantastic, and then other parts weren't to the level where I think I can take them to. Every manager goes into a club and thinks they can change things, and I'm exactly the same.
"The most important thing in football is to have variety to your play. If you become to predictable, teams can figure you out, stop you playing and take advantage. I like the team to be fluid in the game, but be able to play different formations from the start as well, be that defensive or attacking. We have to have variety on the pitch, but also in the squad to be able to play against different teams.
"There are players in this squad who have been playing certain positions for a while who I think can play different roles and give us a bit more. They have to be able to adapt, but they also have to be comfortable. I can't just walk in here and say I want them to play 3-5-2 if they've never played it before, if they're not used to it, or we haven't got the players. It's a gradual process of where we want tot get to and recruiting the right players, but also developing the players we've got here to do the job."
Having highlighted a lack of depth in his squad already, and the need for critical January transfer window, Neilson believes there are plenty of positives already in place at the club, but he still needs to get to grips with the inner workings at Stadium MK to make everything at the club is running smoothly as he transitions into his role.
He said :"We've got a fantastic stadium, infrastructure, aura, there are good people around the place and it's a great opportunity to grow this club. There are loads of positive things about this football club, and that's why I'm here.
"The worst thing a new manager can do when he goes into a new club would be to say everything is already top level. If you do that, where do you go? You want to come in and see things you can change, get a couple of percent more out of things. It's really pleasing to see things that are top draw, but also things that need a little tweak to be able to get us going.
"That's what excites me. The chairman is backing me to find ways to do it, and he's open to having that change to get things going again. They had a really good period but it tailed off, so it's really important we can kick start it again.
"There are a lot of things in the background that are done differently to Hearts - not negatively, just differently. At Hearts, things were running smoothly and when I moved here, different people are doing different things, people are looking after different issues. I have to make sure I don't change things too much, but I have to get everyone going in the right direction. Over time, we'll develop it."