Date: 23rd July 2008 at 12:14am
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Roberto Di Matteo warned his players, in the aftermath of their second pre-season defeat in four days, that this was only the start of the challenge they face ahead of them in the forthcoming campaign.

The Dons took an early lead against Sheffield Wednesday this evening, although then prompty proceeded to concede four.

The Italian admitted he was impressed with the start his side made, although quickly pointed out they would have to start impressing for longer than four minutes.

He told the official site, ‘The start was very encouraging but that’s not all of the game. It’s about not conceding goals, being clever and many things. But it’s early days and we can’t expect after just two and a half weeks everything to go smoothly.’

Di Matteo praised opponents Wednesday after a confident display, although warned his side will have to get used to this level of football quickly if they are to make the successful transition from League Two to League One.

He went on, ‘They were a strong, experienced Championship side but it was a good test because it makes the players realise that there’s a different wind blowing around their ears. We have to get up to the challenge and work even harder.’

Focusing on the poor defending at fault for three of the goals conceded, Di Matteo spoke about the need to work together as a unit.

‘For me defending is about the whole team, we’ve been a bit naïve with the goals we’ve conceded. We just have to be a bit more focused in certain areas because the little details in this league make a difference,’ he said.

However, the former Chelsea midfield man preferred to look on the bright side when assessing his start to mangerial life.

‘It’s the second game in three days and we’ve worked extremely hard. We could see in the first 20 minutes what we were looking for and then Sheffield Wednesday took over,’ he added.

‘The start of the game was very good and the players worked really hard again tonight.’

‘I’ve been changing the players because two games in four days in pre-season is definitely not ideal. A few of the lads are a bit tight now but the work ethic was very good,’
he finished.

Hopefully it’s now back to the boardroom for Di Matteo and his chairman to tie up a few existing transfer deals before the season really starts to get underway.

*****

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