Ardley admits to mistakes on the steep learning curve at AFC Wimbledon
Neal Ardley has admitted to making mistakes in his tenure as AFC Wimbledon boss – and the mistakes will not stop.
Since taking over from the sacked Terry Brown last October, Ardley has learnt “shed-loads” in a steep learning curve.
After last weekend’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at Exeter City, this season’s League Two campaign returns to the Cherry Red Records stadium this weekend and the visit of Scunthorpe United.
Win, lose or draw, Ardley’s response will have been moulded by a 10 months tougher than he could ever have imagined.
“It has been very tough, and I have learned a shed-load about pressure more than anything else,” he said.
“I probably expected too much from the squad in those early months, and sometimes I was too harsh on the players in the press.
“I look back and realise the club were not capable of doing much in terms of winning games.
“In the dressing room after such games, I would tell the players the performances were not good enough.
“Maybe a slightly different tact was needed in respect to saying I have to accept this for now until January and change personnel.”
Despite the rough ride, Ardley steered the Dons to League Two survival on the last day of the season on a day when he and the team got everything right.
Despite the success, he knows there will be some fans and wannabe football pundits who are never satisfied.
He said: “This is my first job in league football and no matter how much I have done, the hard miles in the academy and doing my apprenticeship, so to speak, I will get things wrong and I am sure I will get things wrong in the future.
“Football is a game where everyone has an opinion and no matter what I calculate, what team I pick, if you don’t win then it is wrong.
“If we win, someone else would still have picked a different team and we would have won by more."
Day one: Neal Ardley and Neil Cox during their opening game in charge of AFC Wimbledon SP70799
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