Johnnie Jackson understands Jurgen Klopp decision after late AFC Wimbledon drama



Posted Sunday, January 28, 2024 by PA

Johnnie Jackson understands Jurgen Klopp decision after late AFC Wimbledon drama

AFC Wimbledon boss Johnnie Jackson said he understands why Jurgen Klopp wants to take a break from management after Ronan Curtis snatched a last-gasp 2-1 win against 10-man Mansfield.

The former Portsmouth winger, making his debut for the Dons, tapped home in the sixth minute of stoppage time to end a three-game winless run.

It had looked as if high-flying Mansfield, playing with 10 men for 70 minutes after Jordan Bowery’s dismissal, would earn a hard-fought draw with Will Swan cancelling out Omar Bugiel’s opener.

But Curtis had the final say, capping a whirlwind of emotions for his new manager Jackson, who referenced Klopp’s decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season in his press conference.

“I can understand why Klopp wants to have a year out, and I’ve only been doing it two years,” joked Jackson.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling. Honestly, it’s as good as it gets in football when you score a last-minute winner.

“After probably as low as it gets on Tuesday to have that high, that’s football for you. That’s why we love it.”

The hosts suffered a 3-1 defeat to bitter rivals MK Dons in midweek, denting their play-off ambitions, but the win on Saturday moved them up to eighth, two points off Notts County.

“(The play-offs) have always been in sight. We had an opportunity on Tuesday to get into them, but we didn’t take it,” Jackson added.

“But we said, when the dust settled, we’ve just lost a game of football. There’s a chance in three or four days to bounce back and we’ve done that today.”

In the other dugout, Nigel Clough could not fault his players’ efforts in response to Bowery’s red card and Bugiel’s goal in first-half stoppage time.

He said: “If you go to 10 men for 75 minutes and then come out the stronger team, get an equaliser and look to win the game in the manner that we did, I’m unbelievably proud.

“It says an awful lot about the spirit in the camp. With 15 minutes to go there was only one team you could really see winning it.

“I think if the officials do their jobs correctly, we do (win it).”

Clough took issue with the sending off, as well as having a potential penalty for a foul on Davis Keillor-Dunn waved away just before Curtis’ winner.

The substituted Stephen Quinn was also shown red for dissent in a tense final few minutes.

“I think the provocation that we’ve had to deal with today has been extreme,” said Clough. “Right from the first 20 seconds, to the sending off and the penalty denied.

“Then you’ve got a fourth official who is winking and smiling at the technical area and the bench in an act of nothing else but provocation.

“We had to put up with them all afternoon.”

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