Stags’ boss Steve Evans spoke of the importance of being efficient in both boxes after seeing his side defeated 5-2 against league-leaders Carlisle United this afternoon.
Evans experienced his first defeat as Mansfield Town manager in Cumbria this afternoon, despite striker Pat Hoban heading the Stags in front in the sixth minute.
Carlisle midfielder Jason Kennedy equalised to ensure the sides were all square at the break before a Charlie Wyke hat-trick and a late goal from former Stags’ winger Reggie Lambe secured all three points for the Cumbrians after substitute Danny Rose had reduced the arrears for the Stags with his second goal in as many games.
And Evans, 54, says his side need to be more competent whilst defending their own 18-yard box and when attacking in their opposition’s area.
“Defensively we were poor. You’ve got to deal with balls in to your box. Carlisle play a lot of good football but they also put balls in to the box from 60 or 70 yards and when you can’t win the first header, it’s a problem,” Evans said.
“Then in the attacking third, so to speak, we weren’t as efficient as we should have been. But the reality does break down that they get a penalty when their man handles it, that makes it hard work.
“I think to be organised, you have to be efficient in both boxes. I think, certainly defensively, we weren’t efficient in our defending today.
“When there’s balls coming in from 50 and 60 yards and we’re not winning headers then you’re always going to concede and I looked at the two big boys, Michael Raynes being one of them, who stuck ‘the nut’ on most things that came in to their box.”
Just as Stags were looking for a way back in to the game at 3-1 down, Carlisle were handed a fortuitous penalty for handball against a Stags’ defender and manager Evans says a Carlisle player handled the ball in the area, not one of his own charges.
“We’ve looked at the DVD; I’m not going on the basis now of my eyes – at first, everyone in the ground, including the Carlisle United supporters, were gobsmacked.
“If you actually look at the penalty decision, the Carlisle United players run back. So they run back because the referee’s blown his whistle so they think their player’s handled it.”
After overseeing back-to-back victories in his first two games as Stags’ boss, the former Rotherham United manager says he will get straight back on the training ground to prepare for their next trip to Cumbria in 10 days time.
“We won’t kid ourselves, we didn’t get kidded against Crawley or against Blackpool [in] midweek – there’s a lot of work to be done and the ones that can, over a four or six week period, sustain the type of performances that we need to be taking the club forward, then they’ll be here and the others simply won’t.
“We don’t get too down, we didn’t get too high last week and we get back on the training ground and we’ll work with the players. You’re not getting a reaction that says some of my players aren’t good enough; there’s a lot of good players in that dressing room.”
Supporters can view Steve Evans’ post-match interview on Stags PlayerHD.