Di Matteo misses skipper
Roberto Di Matteo has praised his captain Dean Lewington after he was named League One player of the month.
By Chris Galea
Last Updated: 10/12/08 6:01pm
MK Dons manager Roberto Di Matteo has praised his captain Dean Lewington after the defender was named League One player of the month.
The 24-year-old's impressive form coincided with the club going on a six-game unbeaten run taking them as high as second in the league.
Unfortunately for Di Matteo the full-back has missed the last two games with ankle ligament damage and his manager believes his absence has affected his side.
Lewington had been an ever present for the Dons in League One this season before his injury and his boss admits that his presence was missed in the dressing room as well as out on the pitch.
He said: "We are missing him very much. He is our skipper and a true leader on the field and he's a big player for us too, so he is a huge loss for us.
"He is a very good captain and is well respected in the dressing room by everyone at the club and the supporters.
"He gains their respect by playing week in week out at a very high level."
Di Matteo made it a double for the Dons as he was rewarded for his side's good form with the League One manager of the month award.
It turned out to be bittersweet for the former Chelsea midfielder as the renowned manager of the month curse appeared to strike again as the Dons lost 2-0 at home to Scunthorpe United on Saturday.
"Well I don't really know if we believe it or not but it certainly happened to us on Saturday," added Di Matteo.
"We didn't put a good performance in and we made it difficult for ourselves.
"We had a great month but at the end of the day all the teams are so close to each other which means that if you lose a couple of games you slip down the table pretty quickly."
The defeat saw the Dons slip from second to third in League One but Di Matteo is hoping new signing Tore Andre Flo can fire the goals that lift the club back into the automatic promotion places.
Flo, a former team-mate of the Italian from their time together at Chelsea had initially announced his retirement after a spell with Leeds United last season but came off the bench to make his debut in the defeat to Scunthorpe.
"We brought him to the club because we felt he could weigh in with some goals and help the team, so hopefully he'll have a good season with us," explained Di Matteo.
"He just needs to play a few games and get his match fitness up and then hopefully he will reach his full potential."