Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray says his players need to ‘do the nasty stuff’ better after their 3-1 defeat at the hands of AFC Wimbledon this afternoon.
Matt Green put the Stags into a half-time lead before second half goals from Lyle Taylor, Jon Meades and Adebayo Azeez wrapped up all three points for the Dons.
Stags dominated the first 45 minutes but were subjected to an early second-half onslaught from the Dons and Murray says his side need to learn how to cope more efficiently with the physical aspects of Sky Bet League Two.
“We need men; we need people to stand up. When you make an error, pull yourself out of it – that’s the game.
“We knew that they were going to come out (in the second half) and put us on the back foot, but we had to weather that. If we get through the first fifteen minutes, then it’s a different game. Too often this season we’ve shown that sometimes, when it goes against us, we struggle to get out of it,” Murray said.
“That’s a big learning curve for the group, they’ve got to understand that you don’t get everything your own way. You can’t come away from home and expect to dictate and dominate play for 90 minutes, you have to ride the tough patches. If we ride the first fifteen minutes, then it’s a different game.
"We get away with one goal, with the offside – that should be a wake-up call – we lack men in certain points in games and we lacked somebody who’s going to pull us together because you can’t get away with a chance like that without waking up.
“What we have to learn to deal with is the physical side of it. When you come up against teams where you’re going to spend large parts of the game doing the nasty stuff, we’ve got to learn to do that because we’re brilliant when everything’s going our way."
The gaffer says despite his hard work on the training ground all week preparing his troops for the today’s game, he can’t account for individual errors which handed the Dons the three points at The Cherry Red Records Stadium.
“We knew what their threats were; we knew they’d be physical, we knew they were going to be direct and they’d play with three six-foot-plus centre-forwards, so we knew what was coming. We’ve given away three individual errors; a set piece where somebody doesn’t mark their man, a back pass and we’ve been done by one ball [for the third goal].
“You can’t take that into consideration and you can’t deal with individual errors.”
Murray continued: “We go through certain games where we have periods where we totally shoot ourselves in the foot. If you’re getting outplayed by teams then you go: ‘okay, maybe we’re a million miles away’, but we’re killing ourselves at the minute. You need individuals to stand up and be men.”
After creating a number of chances in the first half, Murray says his side should have capitalised on their first half pressure and extended their lead.
“In the first half, we should’ve been 4-0 up – we had some good play, created a lot of chances and knew we had to start well [in the] second half.
“There’s some where we have to make the ‘keeper work, some we have to finish but we never looked under threat, we never felt like we were going to be under the cosh at all."