Di Matteo - No promotion talk
MK Dons boss aims for top-half finish this season
By Chris Galea. Last Updated: September 18, 2008 5:21pm
Di Matteo: Enjoying management
MK Dons manager Roberto Di Matteo isn't getting carried away with his expectations for this season despite his side's encouraging start to the campaign.
The Dons have adapted well to life in League One, sitting in ninth place with nine points from their opening six games.
But former Chelsea midfielder Di Matteo - who took over as boss following Paul Ince's departure to Blackburn - believes any talk of a second successive promotion is premature.
He told skysports.com: "It's difficult for us to talk about promotion at this stage, but we would like to be in the top half of the table and if we get the chance, to get into the play-offs.
"I am pleased with the start to the season. Maybe we could have picked up one or two points more, but in general the players have responded very well."
This is Di Matteo's first job in management and the former Italy international is finding his new profession poles apart from his time as a player.
He said: "It's totally different from my playing days. Managing involves a lot more responsibility, working with 25 different characters and personalities means that you have to be good at communicating with different people.
"There are also more responsibilities behind the scenes, with the financial side of the game, including budgets, and that side of it has been really interesting.
"I am enjoying management and I hope I can go far as it seems to be very good."
The Dons went down 2-0 to high-flying Oldham last time out and Di Matteo is expecting a reaction from his players when they take on Colchester away on Saturday.
He said: "I'm looking for a very strong response from the players after the defeat to Oldham.
"In general we have been creating chances and not finishing enough of them, so we need to put them in the back of the net because that is what football is all about."
One positive from the defeat at Oldham was the debut of 18-year-old on-loan Manchester City winger Donal McDermott.
Di Matteo added: "He's a young boy and it was a difficult game for the team, but he could prove to be crucial with his ability to provide good crosses and delivery of set-plays.
"He has a great left foot combined with pace, but he's only 18 and requires a bit of experience."