Dunne Has Only Praise For His Players
U's boss Joe Dunne had nothing but praise for his side after last night's defeat to MK Dons, despite picking up no points from the game.
The U's put in an impressive performance against the play-off hopefuls, and could feel particularly hard done by to have lost a game in which they could quite conceivably have won.
It came down to the age-old problem of an inability to convert chances, but the creation of those opportunities was aplenty and, speaking to BBC Essex afterwards, Dunne explained that there were a host of positives to take from the game.
'Irrespective of what others might think, I'm really pleased and I thought we were great,' he revealed. 'We didn't deserve to lose 2-0. We hit the post, had scrambles, shots, hit the side netting and, on another day, we'd have beaten someone by four or five.
'I'm really proud of my players and I can't wait for Saturday because that was one of the best performances against a top side. I've told them not to feel down. They're trying and deserve all the encouragement they can get.'
Despite creating a plethora of chances throughout an energetic opening half of the game, the U's found themselves a goal down early on and struggled to claw their way back into the contest after that.
Freddie Sears hit the post, Magnus Okuonghae went close with an effort, Gavin Massey hit the side netting, Billy Clifford had an effort tipped wide and the U's continued to dominate the ball prior to the break.
But a second goal from a ball through the middle proved to be the killer blow, and Dunne reflected that it was disappointing due to the nature of the goals conceded.
He explained: 'They were exactly the two types of goal that we worked on stopping just today in training; it was two moments of switching off and that's why we are where we are. They got in twice, and they scored twice.
'Our energy levels in the first half were outstanding but it's hard to maintain and that's why we needed to get goals. The crowd dies away a bit when people run out of energy and a quality side like MK Dons will pick off the little spaces, so all credit to them.
'But I can't fault my players tonight as, to a man, we did our very best and all that was missing was a goal. If you're being honest, we didn't deserve to lose.'
Defeat for Scunthorpe at Bury meant that the U's remained five points clear of the bottom four with just two games to go and, despite losing last night, the U's are arguably in a better position than ever.
With a vastly superior goal difference, anything other than six points for the Iron and two defeats for the U's should ensure survival, and Dunne has called on the supporters to back the side on Saturday when Shrewsbury visit Essex.
'We still need to get a point and Saturday is now the heavyweight championship of the world for us, isn't it?' he enthused. 'We need to get something and I'm sure that the crowd will turn up for our last home game.
'Our lads are giving it their all and I can't question their attitude, effort or commitment. We will be ready and really fired up for Saturday.'
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