Neal Ardley praised Wimbledon’s battling performance after his side threatened to deny Premier League Spurs at Wembley today.
It needed a double from Harry Kane to finally swing it Tottenham’s way and the 7,700 Dons in the famous stadium clapped their team off at the end, despite a 3-0 defeat.
Speaking during his post-match interview for iFollow, Neal said: “When you play against these teams it is very hard to get out and get some territorial advantage. We thought our best chances would be from set-pieces and we had to play quickly because they press so well. We did our best. They put out a strong team, but we frustrated them. We also had a good moment of our own through Jimmy Abdou. That was a great moment. It was always going to be hard to get into their box too often and Lyle was good when we did. It was a weird one, I was not sure whether the keeper saved it or not. You hope for those moments that will give you something to cling onto.
“Probably the slightly disappointing thing is that for 60 minutes we stopped them. We just got a couple of things wrong for their goals, but I cannot be too critical. The boys have run themselves into the ground out there today.”
Neal was quick to praise Wimbledon’s supporters for the backing they provided against a side who have reached the Champions League last-16. The Dons fans in attendance also watched 17-year-old Anthony Hartigan gain a taste of Wembley experience as a late substitute.
“The fans were absolutely incredible,” added Neal. “Me and Coxy laughed when we got our first corner, it was like we had scored a goal. It was brilliant. I hope they realise the huge gulf, the quality of Spurs, and that they recognise how well our players did. It was always going to be a tough ask, but we got the game-plan spot-on for an hour. I thought our fans were absolutely incredible, it was such a good atmosphere. Even at the end, some of the Spurs fans were clapping us off. It would have been nice to have got a goal, but I think we did the club proud.
“At 2-0, I wanted to give Cody and Harry a try – Barchy had put such a good shift in – and we wanted to nick a goal. When they got the third I wanted to give Anthony that experience, it had always been in the back of my mind. He is a prospect and it will stand him in good stead.”
By Chris Slavin