In the immediate aftermath of AFC Wimbledon’s 2-0 defeat at home to Torquay United, boss Neal Ardley pulled no punches describing his side’s display as “drivel”.

However, in the cold light of day, Ardley was more measured in his criticism, although he remained at a loss as to why Dons were so flat against a side struggling at the wrong end of League Two.

The defeat leaves Dons, who go to leaders Scunthorpe United this weekend, 15th in the table, only five points above the relegation zone.

“I watched the Torquay match back on video, and I was still disappointed that we did not reach the high standards we set ourselves,” Ardley said.

“But, on the day, I thought Torquay were the better team when in truth there was not much between us, other than we did not play well.

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“I have to be hard on us, that is my job as manager.

“I try to say it as I see it, it was not good enough, but I don’t know why but everything looked like an effort.

“Barry Fuller, who bombs up and down all match and you think ‘Blimey, where does he get his energy from’ looked like every run he made was hard work.”

He added: “It was a hard Christmas with players carrying knocks and some illness in the camp, so maybe that is part of it. I would be beating myself up had I over-cooked them in training, but that is not the case.

“We have players coming back to full fitness, and we are working to bring in new faces to compliment that, so hopefully it will gear us up for a strong second half of the season.”

Doubts for Saturday include Alan Bennett and George Francomb.