Stags’ boss Adam Murray believes his side were presented with a different challenge in today’s 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers in comparison to their previous pre-season fixtures.
First half goals from new striker Danny Rose and defender Krystian Pearce were enough for Murray’s men against their superior opponents, despite Zach Clough’s second half consolation for the Trotters.
And the Stags’ chief was pleased with how his side coped with the threat of Wanderers, after facing lower league opposition in their previous four pre-season friendlies.
“It was exactly what we expected and we got out of it what we set out to get out of it. I think our shape was tested at times, which we wanted, we were put under stress at times, which we wanted," Murray said.
“There’s a few bits and bobs that we wanted to see answered or questions that we can work on, on the training ground. With all due respect with the opponents we’ve had up to now, we probably haven’t got them.
“I think we’ve probably had 70 or 80 percent possession in the previous games so we haven’t really been tested defensively and we came under some pressure today but I thought the boys did really well for the first real pre-season test.
“We’ve been working long days so to get the performance they put out today was really pleasing.”
Left-back Mal Benning was substituted just before half-time against the Trotters after going down with an injury and the manager admitted after the match that he doesn’t want his players to take any unnecessary risks before the season starts.
“Obviously the concern for us with a small squad [is that] we have to be careful about over-stressing people so we go again [on] Tuesday.
“The results at the minute don’t really matter to us, we just want to see the performances and make sure we get a clean bill of health. We’ve got a couple of twinges but we’ve said to the boys that any risk, get yourself off. We can’t afford to risk silly things so we go again tomorrow.”
And although Murray began the match with a strong side for today’s match, he said that there’s still ‘a lot of shirts up for grabs’ for the season opener against Newport County on 06 August.
“We’ve got people that didn’t start the game today that will be fighting for that starting 11 at Newport and at the minute, I said to the players the other day, even though we’re quite a small squad, it’s a tough position for me at the minute because I’ve actually got 20 players that are fighting to start in that 11 so we’re looking at little bits and bobs.
“If I was a supporter or someone that worked in the media, I wouldn’t read into any of that team selection.”
Supporters can view Adam Murray’s post-match interview on Stags PlayerHD.