Stags’ boss Adam Murray says this afternoon’s 1-0 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers was ‘tough to take’ following a tight encounter at Adams Park.
Michael Harriman’s 68th minute goal was enough to consign the Stags to defeat in Buckinghamshire, meaning we slip to 14th place in Sky Bet League 2 and subsequently sit eight points off the top seven.
Speaking post-match, Murray acknowledged that it was a hard-fought encounter and rued the way his team conceded the only goal of the match.
“They put you on the back foot constantly and people say it’s not pleasant to watch but it’s effective. You’ve got to take your hats off to them, they make you defend non-stop.
“You look at the goal again, it’s actually embarrassing. It’s tough to take because you look at the games we’ve lost; it’s not as if teams have broken us down. It’s from a bad decision, a bad error or an individual mistake and it’s cost us again today,” said Murray.
“We didn’t manage to get the ball down and play. We got sucked into a ‘second ball game’. We tried to catch them on the counter-attack, we had a few good opportunities in the first half but we’re in a little bit of a slump at the minute, which is tough because we need that win to ‘kick-start’ us.
“If we’d have started [the season] at this pace and kept at this pace it wouldn’t have been as tough to take but because we’ve had the slump we’ve had it’s even tougher to take.”
Following a promising start to the season that saw the Stags challenge for Sky Bet League 2 play-off position, Murray believes that the club are experiencing the current slump due to inconsistency.
“It’s a big learning curve for some of our young boys. Some of the kids in there at the minute were a little bit naïve. They need to grow up quickly and learn from these errors because the league’s that ruthless. That’s four one-nil defeats [in five games] now, you come out of it with a sunken heart but it’s about pride now.
“When you’re in a game like that and it is scrappy, it is bitty, you have to know how to get hold of that and swing it your way.”
Meanwhile, he also believes his players are in limbo when they get into the final third and knows being clinical in the attacking areas is what is required to progress his side.
“We haven’t been demolished at any time this season, it’s very fine margins. It’s about taking the risk out and trying to take the mistakes out.
“You either play percentage football and put it in [the box] a lot of times and create chances, which is what they (Wycombe) do. Or you become a Portsmouth and an Oxford and you try and open teams up – at the minute, we’re caught in between.”
Speaking further, the manager says his side must wipe away the disappointment of the afternoon’s defeat ahead of the visit of Northampton Town to One Call Stadium on Monday (3pm kick-off).
“We’ve got to go again. We’ve got to make sure we finish the season on a high, there’s 24 points still to play for. I’m not going to write us off [for the play-offs] because you’ve seen the results today. All you need to do is put three-four wins together and you’re back in the mix so the biggest thing now is getting some confidence back into these boys.”