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Cox calls for killer instinct

15 September 2014

Boss wants teams to be punished when we’re on top – starting with Morecambe.

Manager Paul Cox isn’t surprised that tomorrow’s opponents, Morecambe, have got off to a solid start in Sky Bet League Two this season and is expecting a tough encounter.

The Shrimps, who currently occupy second spot – three points behind early leaders Burton Albion, were expected to struggle by most bookmakers this term.

However, Jim Bentley’s team have won five of their first seven matches and beat Plymouth Argyle last time out.

“It doesn’t surprise me [that they’ve started well, because they did the same thing last year,” said Cox.

“They’re having an excellent start and teams are placed where they rightly should be. They’re winning football matches and it’ll be a tough game for us.”

Following two good displays on the road in recent weeks, our boss is eager for us to now find our killer instinct and punish teams when we’re on top in games.

He continued: “I just want us to carry on a bit of a theme from Saturday[‘s match at Wycombe Wanderers]. We played well, were robust, and we’ve just now got to start finishing off the chances.

“We’ve had two games now, as I thought Exeter was the same, where we should have been out of sight by half-time with the amount of chances that we’ve created.

“When you let teams off the hook at this level of football, they come back and punish you.

“So the lads are working extremely hard. They’re creating good opportunities and we played some good stuff on Saturday, but we need that end product. Hopefully, we can ‘get back on the horse’ tomorrow night.”

Reflecting more on the controversial 2-1 defeat at Adams Park, our boss said: “We’ve spoken about the penalty decision and even for the second goal, I thought there was a foul during the build up.

He added: “I think [the penalty decision] was a massive turning point in the game. It was, for me, a strange decision for a referee to give.

“The ball is travelling at 100 miles per hour, heading towards goal, and [Martin] Riley hasn’t put his hand up – all he’s done is dropped his shoulder down towards the ball.

“For me, it didn’t even look as though it was in the box and with all those things happening as quickly as they do, I think you’ve got to be 100% certain that it was a penalty.

“So there was a little bit of frustration, because we were on top at that point and looking certain to come in 1-0 to the good at half-time.”

Cox, who was sent to the stands deep into injury-time at the end of the match, is still waiting to hear whether or not he’ll face any punishment from the Football Association.

“I’ve spoken to the referee today,” said our boss. “I asked him after the game why he sent me to the stands and he admitted it was because I kicked some water bottles.

“I said to him that was it just out of frustration and a little bit of passion, because we didn’t it was our free-kick and we didn’t get the ball moving as quickly as I’d have liked.

“There was nothing malicious in it to any of the officials, players or anything like that, it was just frustration on my count.”

He added: “It’ll be interesting to see what the FA say. It was an act of passion. There was nobody hurt or injured and I didn’t abuse anybody verbally or physically.

“It was basically in my own technical area, so you hope that people use common sense.”

In team news ahead of tomorrow night’s match with Morecambe, Simon Heslop should be back to full fitness, whilst Jamie McGuire is making good progress on an injury he suffered in training last week.

Paul Cox's full interview is available on Stags Player. To subscribe, click here.

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