Neal Ardley has warned his AFC Wimbledon players they will need to defend better than they did against Walsall if they want to survive in League One.
The Dons made a disappointing start to their new season at the Bescot Stadium as the Saddlers inflicted a 3-1 defeat on the new boys in their first game at this level.
Erhun Oztumer’s opening goal for the hosts was pure class and boss Ardley admitted there was little that could have been done to prevent his free-kick finding the net.
However, he was less impressed with his side’s ability to keep out Simeon Jackson on two occasions.
“We got punished for sloppy play,” Ardley told BBC London.
“The first one is an absolute worldie and you hold your hands up to that - welcome to League One - but the second goal we are disappointed with.
“Then you are chasing the game but between their two goals we have had the best three chances of the game with their keeper making some unbelievable saves.
“As the game stretched we got caught on the break with a third but again we had a few good chances in the second half.
“I’ve told the boys in there that if they perform like that then they’ll be fine but if they defend like that we won’t.
“If you look at the story, it’s always the same, you’ve got to be better in both boxes. I don’t think there was much between the sides in-between the boxes.
“We’ve got to tighten things up if we want to be successful.”
Lyle Taylor got himself on the scoresheet with a late penalty for the Dons and Ardley will be hoping it is the first of many for last season’s top goalscorer.