Adam Murray firmly believes this evening’s 2-0 defeat to Exeter City will prove a ‘learning curve’ for him in the weeks and months ahead.
The Stags succumbed to two first-half goals from Joel Grant and Lee Holmes at One Call Stadium this evening and couldn’t produce the same level of performance as they did in Saturday’s victory over Hartlepool United.
Murray pulled no punches in his assessment of the display and was disappointed to see such an uncharacteristic performance from his players.
Speaking post-match, he said: “I want answers for that, it’s not what I put together. It’s a learning curve for me – we started with quite a lot of young kids today. It’s tough for the young kids, and at times we looked like we were young in our thinking.”
“[It was] probably the worst performance, especially the first half, that I’ve had in my year in charge.
“When you play against Exeter they’re always a tough team, they change the formation often, they don’t play with fixed positions, they play a lot centrally and not with overloads and we got done with that," Murray continued.
“The thing that disappointed me tonight was that it looked like hard work, playing football looked like a chore and it’s been a pleasure to watch the team this season, until tonight – tonight wasn’t good.”
With Mansfield travelling south to face Barnet at the weekend in the hope of bouncing back, Murray is keen for the side to revert back to what he’s built to get maximum points.
“[The players are] pretty silent at the minute to be honest. We’ll be in tomorrow morning, we’ll pick it (the game) to bits because I’m not accepting that. If we’re going to lose a game of football we’ll lose it in the right way, not by huffing and puffing, not by it becoming individuals, not by people throwing their arms everywhere – that’s not what I’ve built and it won’t be tolerated."
Despite being disappointed with the way his team performed, manager Murray showed class in defeat to compliment Exeter City and the way they created gaps to exploit.
“I felt if we’d moved the ball like we have done in 95% of the games, we would’ve caused them problems. Credit to Exeter, their movement and rotation in the front four was excellent.
“We have a way of playing here, and that’s not it. You look at the performances on Saturday, you look at the performances before that – even if we weren’t picking up results, we performed better than that.
They’ve had two shots in the first half, and scored two – we can’t defend like that.”
You can watch Murray’s post-match interview on Stags Player.