Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray said his players 'gave him everything' during the draw against Portsmouth at One Call Stadium this afternoon.
A battling display saw Stags earn a 1-1 draw against the South Coast side after Ryan Tafazolli’s own goal just before half-time cancelled out Matt Green’s opener. The home side also had goalkeeper Scott Shearer to thank for saving Marc McNulty’s first-half penalty after he was upended by full-back Daniel Alfei.
After three consecutive 1-0 defeats to Newport County, Yeovil Town and Bristol Rovers in recent weeks, the boss praised his players for the way they bounced back against promotion-chasing Pompey.
“It was a very tough game against a very, very good side, but I thought we more than matched them. At times they’re going to put you under pressure, they’ve got excellent players, but I thought the boys today were superb.
“The biggest thing for me today was a performance. I think when you’ve had the defeats that we’ve had – and they’ve been hard to take – you’ve got to stop that sequence and to do it against a team and a club like that, it takes extra effort,” Murray continued.
“The next step for us is consistency and when we get that, we’ll be a very good side and we showed that today. For the boys to play with that belief that they did today, I take my hat off to them, because after three defeats, it’s tough to go into a game and say: ‘oh I’m confident now’ – it doesn’t work like that.”
Talisman Matt Green scored his 12th goal of the season to give Stags a 26th-minute lead and he was assisted by new loan signing Emmanuel Dieseruvwe, who the manager described as ‘excellent’.
“Considering he’s not had much first team game-time recently, it’s tough. It doesn’t matter how many reserve games you play, to go straight into the first team tempo, it’s hard.
“For him to last the game like he did and to put himself about like he did, if we’re being honest, he made that little bit of a difference, didn’t he? When it went forwards, at times, it stuck. He made some good decisions, he helped Greeny (Matt Green) out and it’s all part of our learning curve.
“Greeny is an instinctive player. He needs to play without a lot in his head. He’s somebody who’s always looking for a chance and at times this season, [it's] probably 'my bad' at times, I’ve asked him to do a job which is probably not his game and he’s had to do that for the team.”
The gaffer also praised goalkeeper Scott Shearer for his third penalty save of the season and admitted that there are a number of factors which help him make such saves: “One – Scott being an excellent goalkeeper. Two – him having an excellent coach in Brian [Jensen] and somebody who’s pushing him, and three, us having an excellent analysis team.
“I wish I could take the credit for it, but I can’t! Them guys (the analysts) are brilliant and they’ve proved all season that an investment in that area and stuff like the sport science, it makes a difference.
“We’ve got a small squad and very rarely have we suffered a big number of injuries, very rarely have we got decisions wrong that have come from the analysis team, that’s their hard work and credit to the football club for making that next step and now we’ve got to look towards the next step.”
You can view Adam Murray’s full post-match interview on Stags Player.