Stags’ midfielder Chris Clements was delighted to score the opening goal during today’s 2-1 win over Stevenage and wants to add more to his tally as the season progresses.
Clements scored his second free-kick in as many games just minutes before half-time and James Baxendale doubled the Stags' advantage in the second half with a debut goal to secure the three points, despite Armand Gnanduillet’s late consolation goal.
The midfielder admitted that he has been practising his set pieces in training and is pleased to see that paying off in Sky Bet League Two matches.
“The last two [free-kicks], I’ve put them in a position where they’ve gone in the net and I’ve been practising them with Matthew Blair.
“[I spend] about half-an-hour after training, just trying to perfect a technique and obviously it’s paying off at the minute.”
Clements continued: “Last week’s was more of a consolation goal so I couldn’t really celebrate but today, obviously scoring the first goal I could celebrate in front of the fans.
“To say I’ve [scored] two in three seasons before this one, I’ve improved already and the fact that I’m on four at the minute, just past Christmas, I know double figures is a big aim but I’ve got to have that confidence to do that.”
The midfielder says he expected Stevenage to not let the Stags have time on the ball, but admitted that manager Adam Murray has focused training on his own players during the week, not the opposition.
“We knew they were going to be in our faces from the first whistle but we had to adjust to that and play our own game. All week we’ve not been worrying about them and just worked on how we were going to play. If we’re at it, there’s nobody who can cope with us.
“Today was a big game that we needed to win. I think it was a vital game to stick with with the ‘play-off’ pack and not lose touch.”
Stags appeared in a formation which allowed the attacking players to interchange with each other, and Clements had praise for loanee James Baxendale who proved to be an influential figure in the Stags’ side.
“We wanted to push our full-backs up like we did earlier in the season, let them be our width and let the three behind Greeny (Matt Green) just get on with it.
“I think Bax (James Baxendale) coming in today was a big part of the win because his movement behind Greeny was unbelievable at times.
“We’ve got players who can play in that role but to have a number 10 who can play ‘out and out’, you can get the ball to him and you know exactly what he’s going to do rather than having midfielders playing there or wingers playing there.”
You can watch Clements' interview on Stags Player.