AFC Wimbledon boss Glyn Hodges apologised to fans following his side’s 2-0 defeat at home to MK Dons.
Wimbledon are in the Sky Bet League One drop zone after suffering their fifth consecutive home defeat at the new Plough Lane.
Points have become few and far between for Hodges’ side since the turn of the year but the manager admitted that their most recent loss was the first time he had seen his players adopt a defeatist attitude.
“Apologies to the fans because we know what this one means to them,” said Hodges.
“I thought we were good the way we came out of the blocks in the first half, and we looked like the side that would win.
“I think if you came into the dressing room at half-time and told me we were going to come out and lose 2-0 tonight I’d have thought you were mad.
“I think it was one of those ones where whoever scored the first goal was going to win this one.
“To be fair that’s the first time I’ve actually seen their heads go down – after that second goal went in. They’re feeling sorry for themselves at the moment but we don’t need that, we need players to pick themselves up and work hard.
“We need to improve and we know that we are in trouble if we don’t. We know what the problems were and will have to fix it now.”
The victory moved Russell Martin’s side nine points clear of the relegation zone.
Martin made a point of reinforcing the history and importance of this fixture to his players before the game and it paid off in the second half.
Matt O’Riley and Matthew Sorinola scored within two minutes of each other to snatch the game away from their rivals.
“Another win and another really strong performance,” said Martin. “We had to struggle for control a bit in the first half but I’ve spoken to the boys about matching the fight on the pitch.
“I spoke to the boys yesterday to contextualise this game for them, as did the chairman, because they get all types of questions thrown at them but they dealt with it brilliantly.
“It felt like a real team performance today. The togetherness they showed out on the pitch is really important for me and to do it in a game like today was fantastic.
“The longer the game goes on the more control we have because we have put a lot of work into their legs.
“I think we’ve won every game where we have scored first, apart from Burnley in the cup, so we need to navigate that first 20 or 30 minutes when other teams have more energy.”