This is what MK Dons boss Liam Manning made of Bristol Rovers hard-fought win

Liam Manning believed MK Dons conceded a ‘cheap’ penalty in the 1-0 defeat to Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night.

Liam Manning rued MK Dons’ lack of discipline in their 1-0 defeat to Bristol Rovers at Stadium MK on Tuesday night.

Antony Evans scored the only goal of the game as he came off the bench to convert a penalty after Ryan Loft had been fouled by Bradley Johnson in the area.

It was back-to-back league wins for the first time since August for the Gas and they shot up to 15th to remove themselves slightly from the relegation battle, which their midweek opponents are involved in.

As for the penalty, the Dons boss described it as ‘cheap’ whilst also lamenting his sides lack of quality up front, as the contributing factors behind their latest defeat.

“It’s tough to take,” Manning said to the MK Citizen.

“There wasn’t a huge amount in the game to be honest. The lads’ attitude was good, but it came down to discipline and quality. We gave away a cheap penalty and ultimately didn’t have enough quality high up the pitch to cause problems and create.”

Visiting boss Joey Barton believed the Dons paid them the ‘ultimate respect’ with their tactics and team selection after packing the midfield in a 3-5-2 formation.

Rovers had the fairer share of shots with 13 in total and three landing on target, whilst MK were limited to four with only one of those going on target.

Barton’s men had more possession of the ball with 51% to their 49% whilst they had six corners and the hosts had none, with only a few lesser passes then their opponents.

“We’re really disappointed,” Manning said. “We just can’t knit anything together at the moment.

“At the weekend, we had chances but couldn’t deal with long balls. Tonight, we dealt with long balls but couldn’t create.

“That’s where we’re at at the moment. There wasn’t a lot in between boxes but just a lack of discipline which cost us.”

The latest defeat for the Dons adds more pressure to Manning’s reign. The 37-year-old took over from Russell Martin last season and had looked to continue the Swansea City managers work.

Milton Keynes finished third last season, qualifying for the League One play-offs but lost to losing finalists Wycombe Wanderers, with Sunderland going up.

As a result, their star players departed for pastures new with Scott Twine sold to MK Dons, whilst Harry Darling reunited with Martin at Swansea.

MK are now 22nd in the league table and have just one win in their last five matches, with the latest to Rovers the latest set back for his side.

Their next match is against league leaders Plymouth Argyle who have claimed some big results as of late against the promotion-chasing sides.

"I’ve had to fight my whole career to get where I am so it’s in me to fight and that’s the bare minimum we expect from the players," he said. I didn’t look at them and think there wasn’t a fight in us, just discipline and quality.

"We have to stick together and go again. We’re not the first team to be in this position and we won’t be the last. We have to understand how to get out of it, and that’ll be down to sticking together.

"For me, I can only control what I can control. All I can control is how we react to tonight and what work we do on Thursday for Saturday. Until I’m told otherwise, it’s head down, fight and scrap to give the players the best chance to fight for the win on Saturday.

"We’re constantly talking with the chairman and he is supportive, but I’m realistic - we have to win matches and get points. He’s been supportive today, but we have to turn it around and start getting points."