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  • By Yann Tear

Dons boss says abandoning rigid 4-4-2 is key to a progressive future for more-fluid Wombles



Mark Robinson says he is determined to steer AFC Wimbledon away from the rigid formations which used to be their trademark in a bid to make them a more fluid and effective outfit.

The fruits of that change were there to be seen in Saturday's excellent 2-2 draw with high-flying Charlton, as a second-half full of intensity and good passing put the visitors under pressure.

The old Crazy Gang sides were built on 4-4-2 but the current Dons boss sees the future differently and after a brief return to the old formation in the midweek draw with Wigan, he reverted to the 4-2-3-1 set up which looked so much better on the eye and so very nearly yielded all three points.

"Possibly I went away a little bit from my beliefs against Wigan in midweek and played a formation where I thought we'd create more chances," Robinson said. "But in doing that we lost a style of football that I think's going to take this football club forward.

"I had a great chat with our chief executive and he said 'we gave you a job for a reason and we've been excited by some of the football we've been playing, which was great. It's given me the confidence to go back to this plan and you saw that with some of the football today.

"We had some great patterns of play but also looked very, very effective and kept the ball. If we're going to grow as a football club, we want to keep our best young players because we've got a fantastic academy here, so the manner of performance is important.

"II was a little bit worried that with 4-4-2 the big front men would become main focus and we'd end up just going long and play straight-line passes. I don't think that's a progression for this club. Today we didn't do that and had a variety to our play, which I believe is not only exciting for the fans to watch but it's also unpredictable and will help the club build for the future.

"Life's moved on but the players have moved on too and what Wimbledon did in the past was absolutely incredible but you still had incredible technicians who could put the ball in pinpoint areas so that if they didn't win the first ball, they picked out the second ball. It wasn't just long ball - there was a purpose behind every pass they made.

"Could players now play play like that? There aren't many Alan Corks about and John Fashanus around. The old Wimbledon were fantastic for what they achieved, though. I hope the fans will stay say there are things that remind them of an old Wimbledon performance."

Reflecting on the derby draw with the Addicks, Robinson said: "The second half was really pleasing and they've set themselves a standard now in terms of work-rate and they've got to make sure they live up to it.

"We possibly had the better chances and I thought we were very much on the front foot second half, but the goals we gave away weren't good enough.

"We started really brightly and that's how they need to set themselves up, but a goal came for them in their first attack and the players have got to recognise [the dangers]. They haven't had to do a lot to get their goals. That's what's cost us the three points.

"There's 100 per cent a belief that we can go anywhere and get points and as well as the endeavour we were passing the ball well, the movement was good and hopefully we're seeing where Wimbledon can go in the future."

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