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Solid partnerships pivotal to success, says Bennett

16 February 2017

Defender Rhys Bennett says consistent team selection has enabled the Stags to form solid partnerships which have been central to the current nine-match unbeaten run.

The former Rochdale defender has made 39 appearances since joining the club last summer and has been used primarily in the centre of the defence since the arrival of Steve Evans as manager in November 2016. 

And the 25-year-old says he is enjoying his football alongside central defensive partner Krystian Pearce, with whom he’s developed a good understanding. 

“Krystian Pearce is a great defender so it’s easy to build partnerships with him,” Bennett said. 

“I think in terms of the gaffer, who has obviously knitted us tighter as a group and we’ve been allowed to develop relationships and partnerships in defence, which has led to us being a lot more consistent and a lot more sturdy. 

“I can remember the first [training] session and I can remember this man in front of me, Sean [O’Callaghan, first team performance analyst], asking me for clips of myself playing centre-half because I was going to play there on Saturday. 

“I thought ‘oh my gosh, I’ve not played there for years!’ but it worked out quite well. I thought I did okay and I’m quite enjoying it.”

The Bolton Wanderers academy product says the comeback against Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night to draw 4-4 epitomised the spirit in the dressing room. 

“All I’m going to say is this group of players is a special group of players – how many times were we down in that game, three times? To come back and to get a draw and to nearly nick it at the end, wow. 

“From a personal point of view, it wasn’t my best game [against Accrington]. But the attacking lads carried us through and I can only give them credit.”

Bennett says the Stags will now be aiming to display a more solid defensive performance against Grimsby Town on Saturday and he refuses to be drawn into looking too far ahead. 

“We’re not going to defend like that again. We scored four goals in two consecutive games and if we continue doing that then we’re going to batter teams. 

“Our target is just to win the next game. Saturday is our next game and we’re going to win that and see where it takes us. 

“We’ve gone to places – we went to Cambridge and beat them, they were on a great run, I think we can go there (Grimsby) and win.”

Supporters can log in to Stags PlayerHD to view Rhys Bennett’s full news conference. 
 


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