Squad immediately bought into having Martin as new Dons boss

There has been a lot of change since Paul Tisdale was sacked as manager of MK Dons, but Dean Lewington says he has not had to convince any of his team-mates that Russell Martin is the right man for the job.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 12:21 pm
Updated Friday, 6th December 2019, 12:21 pm
Dean Lewington

Though Tisdale guided the side to promotion from League Two last season, the wheels fell off in late September and after a dismal run, was sacked after losing to Tranmere.

While Martin has been working on a new style of play for his side, Lewington admitted there has been a lot of changes behind the scenes, but one thing he has not had to do is convince anyone to back their new boss.

He said: "When it all happened, we had a chat and I told him I'd help out where I could, you know, trying to get everyone on board and behind it. But I think he'd been so impressive in the way that he has been, he didn't need that helping hand. The training has been really impressive, some of the best I've ever had, and everyone is buying into it. I've not had to do much behind the scenes really.

"It has been a big change. We've had schedule changes, days off have changed, the time we train, what we train. It has been a big shift. He's come in with his own ideas. You've seen gradual improvements – from the Port Vale game when we had just a couple of days with him to the Rotherham game where we've got a whole new way of how we want to play. That takes time, but it's what we work on every day."

With Dons' new style seeing them play a more considered passing game under Martin than they had been under Tisdale, Lewington feels the team are now playing to their strengths rather than playing a style which did not match the personnel.

He continued: "We were in a bit of a rut, we'd lost what we were doing, we had injuries, we lost our way. But Russ came in and gave us a clear direction of how we want to play.

"The way he wants to play is the hardest, there are risks and it takes a lot of time but ultimately it's what MK is about. The chairman has been passionate how we play football, he doesn't want to see 'route one' or channel balls, but it's the right way to go, it will take time but it will pay off.

Russell Martin

"If you had big Platty (Clive Platt) up front, why not hit him?! But trying to play long balls to Kieran (Agard) or Joe (Mason), the ball is just going to come back. We're trying a different approach, using our strengths in midfield. We're trying to build

"Sometimes people do want a lump forward, but as we evolve and get better, we won't always be going back to the keeper to start it. We've stripped it right back, but it will take time to build in those layers."