Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray believes today’s draw with Cambridge United was the right result after seeing both sides create chances to take all three points.
The game ended 1-1 after captain Adam Chapman’s fierce free-kick from 35-yards handed the Stags the lead before U’s substitute Ryan Donaldson levelled before half time.
Murray thinks a point apiece was probably the right outcome for both teams in the end, but believes his side’s solidity allowed them the opportunity to almost take all three points late in the game.
“I think it was a fair result in the end,” said Murray.
“In the first 30-35 minutes we were exceptional; we had a lot of possession, a lot of the ball but at times we lost our head when our line was too high.
“In the second half we played a little bit on the counter-attack; as much as everyone wants us to come here and run riot at Cambridge they are a very good team.
“It was just a case of tweaking it a little bit until we got back into the game; defensively we kept our organisation and discipline and we were a little bit compact and in the final period we felt we had a foot-hold in the game and went for it again.”
With Murray opting for a system which saw striker Matt Green leading the line with support from either side in the form of Matty Blair and Reggie Lambe, the gaffer insists that it allowed for more penetration in the final third.
“[In the] first half we tried to keep the pace in the front three of Blair, Lambe and Green. At times it did leave us vulnerable and a little bit open but in the second half we knew they’d come out and have a right go at it as they had the momentum before half time.
“We knew it would be a tough test as they’ve got momentum and they’re playing on the front-foot, but it’s a good point. What we need to do now is get our home form right because that’s a big thing because away from home, if you don’t get beaten it’s a good result.
“We can turn that home form [around], which isn’t desperate but we can improve a little bit, combined with our away form, then we’ll be in the mixer. But for now it’s the little things that aren’t allowing us to get to that elite level which is where we ultimately want to be.”
Despite slipping out of the play-offs and into eighth going into Christmas, Murray is delighted with his side’s efforts during the first half of the campaign – adding that he is enjoying feeling the weight of expectation and higher demands of the Mansfield faithful.
He said: “I think if you look at the progress we have made over the first half of the season, we’ve been immense. The boys have been superb to take on the amount of change and the amount of messages in over five or six months and they deserve a lot of credit for that, but we’ve put the club in a position where they expect more.
“The fans expect more because we enjoy winning; it’s not very often we get beaten so the euphoria of winning football matches brings pressure, but it’s a good pressure.
“Last season we had a target of number of points we needed to stay in the Football League so that was pressure, this is different pressure which is to go and be a great football team which for me is what we’re in the job for.
“We’ll keep our focus and our intensity in our work along with our beliefs and our ethics and I thought there were some really good performances today.”