Uwe Rosler admitted he was disappointed with the efforts of his players after the defence of the FA Cup began with a 3-3 draw at the DW Stadium against MK Dons, setting up a replay with Karl Robinson’s team later in the month.
Latics took a 2-0 lead inside the first thirty minutes, but were pegged back shortly before half-time, going on to see Shaun Williams have a penalty saved by Ali Al Habsi, Callum McManaman put them back into the lead five minutes later and, finally, concede a third goal late on to round off a thrilling afternoon.
Whilst Latics remain in the reckoning, Rosler knows much better is needed if they are to progress to the fourth round, saying they didn’t do enough to progress on the day:
He said: “I was disappointed with the performance today as cup holders. At 2-0 up I told my players to make sure they got to half time with a clean sheet still intact, and had we done that I think the game would have been over.
“Even after they got themselves level we were able to take the lead once again, but with five minutes remaining we did the same again and allowed them another equaliser.
“Overall, I don’t think we did enough to win the game against an MK Dons side who, in periods, were perhaps the better team. We had opportunities to kill the game off; Marc-Antoine Fortune had a chance late on for example, but in those defining moments we just were not good enough.”
Latics fans were treated to a cracking match, and some fantastic goals from the home side; from Roger Espinoza’s 30-yard strike into the top corner, to Jordi Gomez’s low drive inside the area and McManaman’s cool finish in the second half.
Rosler was pleased with the goals chalked up by his players but, on the flip-side, unhappy with the way in which MK Dons found the back of the net at the other end of the pitch, saying:
“I would like to mention Roger’s performance today in particular. There were a number of players who came into the team having not played too much football recently, but his display was fantastic with the energy, willingness and hunger he showed throughout the game. He was a top performer and I am very happy to have him in my squad.
“His goal was fantastic, and we scored some good goals in the game, but at the other end of the pitch, for a team as experienced as we are, I thought the manner in which we conceded was nowhere near the demands we have of ourselves.”
With a replay at Stadium MK to be arranged for later in the month, Rosler hopes his players learn lessons from the first meeting of the two sides and will be ready for Karl Robinson’s side the second time around:
“We have a replay now at their home and what we have to do as a team is show our desire to defend our title as FA Cup holders, because we haven’t shown it enough over the 90 minutes today.
“I warned my players of the threats MK Dons have, because I know how good they can be. Perhaps one or two players were not listening enough, because impressively they showed how they can hurt opposition teams.”