Alan Bennett has called on his AFC Wimbledon team-mates to ‘grow up’ after crashing to a disastrous defeat at Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
David Clarkson and Tom Parkes scored first-half goals to set the Pirates sailing to victory and a late red card to Sammy Moore and Matt Harrold penalty completed the job for Rovers.
Neal Ardley apologised to Dons supporters for the defeat and skipper Bennett agreed with his manager’s assertion that the players had to shoulder the blame for the 3-0 scoreline.
“We’ve let down the manager and the staff,” Bennett said. “It wasn’t good at all from us from start to finish. That little bit of petulance is something we need to get out of our game, big time, we need to be a team of men. On the pitch we need to step up and grow up a little bit.
“Both teams had good support today. We just got outmuscled really. We lost every battle - you can’t do that in this league and expect to get a result. They bullied us and then played good League Two football to get the result. We’ve let everybody down.”
With Wimbledon already out of the FA Cup at the first-round stage, they must now wait until December 14 to put things right when they welcome Mansfield to Kingsmeadow.
Bennett admits there is a lot of hard graft to be done before then though and is looking for his team to show a positive reaction on the training field.
“We’ll work so hard over the next two weeks to put things right,” he added. “You’ve got to try and use it, motivate yourself, flip it into a positive to work hard. It’’s going to be a bad weekend but you can’t get too low or it’ll destroy you.
“All teams have days like this, even the best of teams, it’s about how you react to it. I wish we could be playing next weekend. I’m not sure if we will be in for training yet next Saturday but I’ll do a bit myself anyway.
“The next game is at home and we’ve got to get it together. We’ve got to re-group and as a group of players we’ve got to show the staff that we can respond. We’ve got to show that we’re men and stand up.”