Stags’ manager Adam Murray feels the 2-0 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon was a ‘wake-up call’ for his players.
A goal in each half from Luke O’Nien and Aaron Amadi-Holloway consigned the Stags to only their second league defeat at One Call Stadium this season, meaning they dropped a place to sixth in Sky Bet League Two.
Speaking after the match, Murray said: “After about an hour there was a massive bang that went around the ground, and it was Mansfield Town coming back down to earth. I’m not wondering why we didn’t get anything because we looked like a team today that had got carried away with themselves.
“The boys have been superb this season so far but today was a wake-up call. With the ball, it looked like we hated it and wanted to get rid of it. We huffed and puffed, had a lot of control of possession but didn’t really do anything. [We had] A lot of crosses going into the box, but it didn’t look like we would score today which hasn’t been like us.
“[It was] a bad day at the office, but sometimes you have to have these games to grounded and get your focus back – that’s what will happen. We’ll learn from it. If you don’t do what we set out to do to achieve three points, then you lose football matches.”
Murray felt his side lacked a ruthless edge this afternoon, despite dominating possession.
“The goal was poor, if you’re going to give away poor goals like that it doesn’t matter what your defensive record is, it’ll lose you games. That’s not just the back four, that’s all around the pitch. There wasn’t that ruthlessness about us today that there’s been in recent weeks – we’ve got to set the tempo and we didn’t today.
“Teams have these games. When you’re consistently getting all the plaudits and everyone wants to say ‘well done’ to you, as footballers sometimes it’s easy to take your foot off the mettle. Apart from the first
goal I never felt we were under threat."
After consecutive clean sheets in the previous two games against Yeovil and Portsmouth, Murray thinks the loss will test the character of his players looking ahead to the future.
“It’s important now how we react. We’re brilliant when we’re getting the pats on the back and the plaudits, but when things don’t go our way, this is the important time – anyone can take the plaudits, it’s about when you take one on the chin and how you bounce back.
“I know they’ll take this as a learning curve. We’ll build from it, but we have to be better than that. Even though we were getting on the ball in good areas, there was no spark, we lacked that bit of x-factor.”
The game against Wycombe marked Murray’s 50th game in charge of the Stags since taking charge last season, and he was positive in summary of his spell so far.
“I’ve enjoyed it – not the way I would’ve liked to finish my 50th game, but this is football. The greatest thing about this football club this season is that we have optimism balanced with realism, we know where we’ve come from.
“We’re not going to win the league by 20 points but we will progress, these are the times now we need to keep that focus and get back on track.”
Adam Murrray's interview is available in full to watch on Stags Player.