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He said the playoffs were realistic...

Roberto Di Matteo

By Oli
April 8 2009

...but, at an extremely odd time, has he changed his mind? Considering the Dons' form in recent weeks, some might say manager Roberto Di Matteo's change in view of his side's chances, from playoff hopefuls to in with a shout at the automatic spots, is a curious one.

Throughout the season, as the Dons occupied that second automatic promotion spot, Di Matteo played down his side's chances and maintained that his team would do very well to reach the playoffs. His prediction was proved correct as tiredness kicked in and the Dons slumped to fourth place.

But now, with the club's chances of automatic promotion seemingly gone after that run, he's changed his tune. With a "positive" finish to the season, Roberto now believes that it will be "difficult" for Leicester City and Peterborough United, as well as third place Millwall, to stay above them. With a mountain to climb to have any chance of automatic promotion, we don't want to get our hopes up, but could he be right twice?

Roberto told "We will be looking to keep the pressure on the teams above us and finish the season on a positive note.

"Victories have been a bit harder to come by of late, and we know we need to win as many of the remaining games as possible to have a chance of automatic promotion. 

"Although we haven't been winning each week, we feel we have at least consolidated our place in the play-offs, and everything is in our own hands.

"If we win all of our games, then it will be difficult for the other teams to stay above us.

"The sides around us are playing each other and that may give us an advantage, as they can't all take maximum points. But as ever, we will only be concentrating on our own affairs."

Roberto added that his side needed to tighten up defensively to have a chance in the playoffs, let alone to challenge the top two, and felt that this Friday's trip to Southend United could be a crucial one.

"I wasn't happy with the errors in the defeat to Leeds, but after working very hard on our defensive shape, we kept a clean sheet in our last game," he said.

"In matches this term, we have played well and have gone ahead often but conceding goals to errors is frustrating.

"The game with Southend on Friday will be interesting as they are a good side in good form and they need to win, but we will be going there confident."

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He said the playoffs were realistic...
Dons Online (IP Logged)
08/04/2009 23:24
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