Yeovil Town told to keep belief ahead of testing trip
YEOVIL Town's players have been told to keep believing and travel to MK Dons as underdogs more than capable of an upset.
The Glovers head east on the back of their first npower League One defeat of the season, caused by arguably their worst performance of the campaign to date.
Richard Hughes' free kick was enough for AFC Bournemouth to take the points in the derby at Huish Park as Cherries caused Gary Johnson's men endless problems with their shape and passing game.
The manager blasted his team as unrecognisable from the side he knew, but said they could not be too dismayed with ten points from their first five games.
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However, he demanded better from the weekend trip to stadium:MK, the scene of one of their most memorable victories of last season.
The Glovers played for more than an hour with ten men following Tottenham Hotspur loanee Dean Parrett's dismissal, with Gavin Williams' goal and Sam Walker's penalty save proving the difference.
Johnson said: "It's a real tough place to go and if you look at three of our four games – Bournemouth, Sheffield United and MK Dons – they are going to be three teams that will definitely be there or thereabouts.
"We know that, they are three of the teams with the big budgets and the big squads. MK Dons brought in Alan Smith and Jimmy Bullard to go along with the players already there so they are going to be formidable opposition.
"That's fact but we go there as the underdogs and we mustn't go there with the feeling that we're going to get beaten anyway. We didn't last year, last year in adversity we came through with the sending off and the penalty save.
"We are going to need that spirit and we are going to need to make sure we have our fair share of the play, which is what I will be looking for."
Johnson blamed mental and physical exhaustion for his team's demise against Cherries but emphasised it should only be a one off as he looks to make the most of the first week since the start of the season without a Tuesday fixture.
"We worked very hard on a few things for the simple reason I didn't recognise any part of our game on Saturday," he said. "No section of our team were producing on the day.
"They could quite comfortably come up with some excuses if they wanted to, but they haven't. They have held their hands up and we knew that on the day we were second best.
"We allowed their shape to affect us a lot more than the other way around when our game has been affecting other teams.
"On this day Bournemouth's game affected ours a lot more, which is a shame because we didn't have anyone who could come out and produce something that would get us the game back, be it a strong tackle, a big dribble, a great shot – anything that would have got us buzzing again.
"Unfortunately it didn't happen on the day but we cannot do anything more than we have done this week to put it right and put it together again. We mustn't suddenly stop believing in ourselves because we have had the one poor game.
"We are still up there, we are still challenging and that's where we want to be for the whole season. We are not going to lose faith or confidence in each other, but at the same time we've got to be honest in our assessment of our performances."
Byron Webster successfully negotiated 90 minutes against Bournemouth despite struggling to breath in his previous outing, while attacker Williams was expected to make his overdue return to training this week after an injection to his calf muscle.
Johnson said his side enter the weekend striving for full fitness, suggesting a number of players would have struggled to have completed another midweek clash.
"There are always little niggles and knocks that people get when they are playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday," he said. "We have had a few more days, which is nice, and if we'd had a game on Tuesday we would have had a few struggling, to be honest with you.
"But we haven't and we've got a game on Saturday where we should have a fitter bill of health than if we had played a game on Tuesday."
After the final whistle on Saturday, Johnson admitted he would have liked an extra day this week to work with his team. He said: "You double your points to your games. We are on five games and ten points and you are going to win promotion (with that form).
"You are not going to win every game but you can learn from every game and we will learn from the defeat. Hopefully we will come back flying.
"It is a big old week, though, and I wish there were eight days in this week, that is for sure."