Dons boss: Wigan will be ‘top end’

The celebrations following Nick Powell's goal at MK Dons
The celebrations following Nick Powell's goal at MK Dons

MK Dons boss Robbie Neilson expects Wigan Athletic to be a ‘top end’ in League One after seeing the visitors secure all three points on the opening day.

Nick Powell’s goal was the difference at Stadium:mk but, in reality, Latics were good value for their victory, with Dons goalkeeper Lee Nicholls fighting a one-man battle at times to keep the scoreline down against his old club.

“We’ve obviously disappointed,” said Neilson.

“I felt there were aspects of the game where we did really well.

“I expect Wigan to be one of the top teams in the league, but I expect us to be there or thereabouts with teams like that.

“There are a few positives, but we’re disappointed not to get three points at the start of the season.

“Their goal was a counter, which is disappointing, but it’s something we can work on.

“That’s a Championship team which retained a lot of their Championship players.

“They will be at the top end, but we showed at 10 vs 10 we were the dominant team. It bodes well for the future.”

Neilson also hit out at referee Kevin Johnson, who sent off Wigan left-back Callum Elder in the first half and then Dons centre-back Scott Wootton after the break.

“There’s a rule in football that says you can’t surround the referee, but they had seven players around him, steaming in from 40 yards away,” said Neilson.

“If he’s not going to clamp down on it, I’ll tell my players to do it as well.

“He has to get control. I didn’t think he had any control of the game.

“In English football, you’ll get tackles.

“But if you book a full back for a nothing challenge after three minutes, you’ll put yourself under pressure.

“Every other challenge, we were looking for a booking, every other challenge, they were looking for a man to get sent off.

“The referee has to manage the game.

“This was two teams who would be at the top of the league and I don’t think he controlled it well enough for this level.”