Stags’ under 21s’ coach Mike Whitlow wants his young side to learn from their mistakes after seeing them defeated 6-2 by Grimsby Town this afternoon.Although the young Mansfield players were dealt a blow after going 3-0 down in the opening quarter, but they got it back to 3-2 with a spirited attempt to turn the game on its head. However, the Mariners scored three more goals late in the game against the run of play to emerge comprehensive winners.
And head coach Whitlow said in his post-match diagnosis although he was disappointed at having conceded soft goals against the Mariners, he hopes that the goals conceded will acting as a stiff learning curve for his players.
“The most disappointing thing was the first fifteen minutes, because you prepare yourself to start the game bright. Yes, they have got a lot of experience in their team, a lot of League football and you know they are going to come at you,” the former Premier League defender said.
“But to lose the goals in the way we did and in 15 minutes to be three down, you are fighting a battle and mentally you are fighting a battle in the game.
“We had a little chat at half-time, made a couple of changes that we thought would help the team, and also for the lads to come off and learn something. Sometimes, you have to win that little battle, getting close to people, all going together.”
The 48-year-old reasoned that the secret to overcoming their opposition is to remain compact at the back, and continue learning from the process.
“This is a journey [for these young players]. Some of our 16, 17, 18-year-olds are going to learn from that. It does take communication, it does take knowledge, and this is their learning curve; how can I help my team-mate, how can I help my unit, how can I help myself as an individual?
“And yes, at the start of the second half, I thought ‘well done!’. They pressed and they got their reward and got themselves a back in the game. They gave themselves a chance for 30 minutes, and that was the pleasing bit. But I always get disappointed with the poor goals.”
Further emphasising the point that his players need to learn from the experience, Whitlow said he it’s important that his players educate themselves about different aspects of the game.
“They have got to understand that sometimes football isn’t always about possession, sometimes it is about working cohesively together to close the ball down, and I thought they did it a lot better in the second half.
“Hopefully the lads will learn. It is about communicating, organising. Let’s make sure that I am going to help my teammate, I am going to be the best I can and I am going to help my unit and my team to be successful today. Hopefully, they’ll learn and benefit from it.”
Supporters will be able to view Mike Whitlow’s post-match interview on Stags PlayerHD soon.