Liam Manning hails MK Dons’ ’emotional control’ in upset win over Watford



Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2022 by PA

Liam Manning hails MK Dons’ ’emotional control’ in upset win over Watford

MK Dons manager Liam Manning praised his side’s character after the shock 2-0 victory at Watford that took the League One side into the third round of the Carabao Cup.

Manning’s side took the lead immediately before the half-time interval when Matthew Dennis turned home from close range after exchanging passes with Darragh Burns.

And Burns then doubled the lead in 53rd minute when he fired home from outside the Watford area.

Manning was in no doubt his team deserved the win against Championship opponents and believes victory was down to the discipline and focus demonstrated by his players.

The Dons boss said: “I’m really pleased. We challenged the players on their behaviour – the discipline, the focus and the intensity that we were going to need.

“There was also the emotional control. That was the biggest thing because we knew we would be up against it at times given the experience and quality in the Watford team.

“There were some terrific moments of football from us and we created the best quality chances.”

Watford came into the clash in second place in the Championship but struggled to gain a foothold in the game against a team struggling in the third tier.

Louie Barry, on loan from Aston Villa to the Dons, tested keeper Maduka Okoye who also saved well from Will Grigg and Dawson Devoy.

Vakoun Bayo went close for Watford, Jamie Cumming saving his shot at the second attempt, but Dennis opened the scoring as a substitute for Grigg – colliding with the post in the process.

Burns settled the matter after Devoy won possession from Dan Gosling and Watford have now been beaten by lower league opposition in this competition in each of the last three seasons.

Manager Rob Edwards – who took charge during the close season – admitted his side were second best.

The Hornets boss said: “All credit to MK Dons – they fully deserved to win.

“It was a disappointing evening. I selected a team that I thought would win the game and this was an opportunity missed.

“We should have shown more risk in our play. I needed to see more coming and going and more forward runs. We needed to be asking more questions.”

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