Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray thinks that his side's opening day draw with Carlisle United was a fair result, adding that he was 'chuffed to bit' with his side's first workout.Stags took the lead in the 29th minute thanks to a wonderful free-kick by Malvind Benning before Jabo Ibehre got the Cumbrians back on level terms right on the stroke of half time.
Murray said: “I think it was a typical first game of the season. There was tension before the game in people wanting to impress, a lot of these players were on show for the first time today. So especially for the first 45 minutes it was a very tense performance.”
“We weren’t very good with the ball and we made our own errors, we put them on the front foot by giving the ball away very cheaply. But as we settled down, we built in to the second half and we looked a little bit better, but overall I'm chuffed to bits with that work out.”
Murray believes that his side needed a tough game as a reality check for what League Two football is all about. He said: “We needed the reality of League Two football and a kick up the backside. Everything’s gone our way so far (in pre-season), so to be average and come out with a point, I'm chuffed to bits.”
“In League Two you’re not going to be able to have three or four touches, it’s high tempo, you’ve got people in your face and if you’re not up to that intensity then you get caught out.”
“I think the important thing today is that [from the] first game of the season you want to put something on the board. It gives us a platform to kick on and the lads will relax now.”
The Gaffer admitted that he wasn’t surprised by Malvind Benning’s first-half wonder striker, and he hopes to see more of the same in the coming weeks and months. He said: “He’s got that 'in his locker', he’s got a great left foot. We will be capable of scoring good goals this season; we just have to make sure we concentrate on the other end because the goal we conceded was very poor.”
“I think there was a lack of understanding between a defensive partnership that’s just been put together. I thought Taff (Ryan Tafazolli) came in and was exceptional, but as a partnership they haven’t got the game time that they need together, but that will grow.” Murray continued after confirming that Lee Collins was the victim of a late knock, ruling him out of today’s game.
Adi Yussuf came in for praise from the gaffer after an exciting cameo appearance as a substitute. He said: “He’s scored in the majority of games he’s played in pre season, he’ll score goals this season. We have to get him up to match tempo, he’s had a couple of weeks out for various reasons and when we get him up to match speed, he’s another string to our bow.”
Murray’s final word was for the fantastic support at One Call Stadium today, he said: “I thought the support was brilliant today, they stuck with us. They understood that the first game was always going to be tense, and it was always going to be a hostile environment but we started to get on top in the second half and they backed us.”
Stags’ next match is Tuesday 11th August, away to Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup.