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Club News

Boss looking for further improvement after Pools win

11 February 2017

Club News

Boss looking for further improvement after Pools win

11 February 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans says there is more to come from his group of players after seeing them record their biggest win of the season so far against Hartlepool United this afternoon.

Midfielder Ben Whiteman shone in a comprehensive 4-0 victory with a fine double, while new signing Alex MacDonald and striker Danny Rose scored the other two on a cold and wet day at One Call Stadium.

The victory over the Pools extended Stags’ unbeaten run to eight games as they picked up their sixth clean sheet in the process.

And the manager said that although he wasn’t entirely happy with the performance, the players’ attitude pleased him as they near the business end of the season. 

“It wasn’t comfortable in the second-half. We didn’t start the second-half particularly well,” the Stags’ chief said.

“It was a mixed performance today, but we scored four goals; and if we don’t concede a goal, then I am a manager, who – based on the result – will go away happy.

“There is so much more to come from this club - we don’t get too high. We go back on the training ground, train and get ready for Tuesday and that is a different proposition all together.

“We have got a great group of players – they want to learn and improve, and we want them to do that because we need that to happen if we are going to get involved towards the end of the season.”

The ex-Leeds United manager added that substitute Alex MacDonald’s goal proved to be the turning point in the second-half, whilst also showering praise on the goal-scoring exploits of midfielder Whiteman. 

“Thankfully, Alex [MacDonald] came on and gave us a great goal, and fantastic play. He is a wonderful talent and he’s come onto the pitch and gets us a goal probably at a stage of the match when we are not happy.

“I have watched him for a little while and Sheffield United – they did make it happen for us, and Ben [Whiteman] wanted to come and he wanted to play.

“He is a smashing lad and it helps when he gets that ratio of goals he is getting from midfield.

“All the lads in the dressing room, they are all personable young men. They want to improve, they want to get better and Whiteman is one of them.”

Furthermore, although the Stags have now moved into the top-seven with today’s victory, the 54-year-old refuses to look too far ahead into the play-off prospects and will continue to focus on each game as it comes. 

“What I do know is that for us, when we are in seventh, we are aiming to be in sixth, and I said to the group that we can only have the objective to look at one place in front of us. 

“We are concentrating and trying to get a good performance on Tuesday [against Accrington Stanley]. I know it will be about what we do, about what individuals do and what collectively we do.

“We have a fresh lot from today – we left CJ [Hamilton] out today, he might come back in and we might want to ring in one or two more changes because we believe in and trust all of our players.”

Finally, the boss again highlighted the contribution of the Stags’ faithful in creating a fantastic atmosphere to drive the Stags forward.

“It [the fans’ enthusiasm] is very noticeable. The players were just chatting in the dressing room, about the atmosphere, and all true to them, they kept us going at the start of the second-half. 

“Obviously we got a couple of goals in the first-half, and we looked to take it on. But I think when we got the third goal, the atmosphere was terrific. 

“I want to give them (the fans) these terrific afternoons, terrific evenings. And we can only do that if we continue to stay focused, work hard and try to improve, and that is what we are going to do between now and Tuesday.”

Supporters can view Steve Evans' post-match interview, in full, on Stags PlayerHD. 

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