Stags’ boss Steve Evans says his side's 3-1 victory over in-form Cambridge United at the Cambs Glass Stadium this afternoon sets a benchmark for the rest of the season.
Cambridge took an early lead through George Maris but it was all-square at the break thanks to Leon Legge’s own goal just before half-time. The second half was a much more one-sided affair as goals from defender Krystian Pearce and debutant Shaquile Coulthirst handed Stags their fourth win in their last five games.
And the boss says he believes his side deserved to beat Shaun Derry’s Cambridge after controlling much of the game.
“I think it was a benchmark. We’ve come here and we’ve beaten a very good team,” the Stags’ chief said.
“The way to beat Cambridge United is to go toe-to-toe with them and get the ball down and pass it and move it. I think in the second half we were streets ahead and deserved to win the game.
“I think the first half performance we controlled for long spells. I think over the piece in the second half, we dominated for spells but it was a real tough battle and credit to Cambridge United. I don’t change my views from before the game – they’re a team who will be in the play-offs at the end of the season."
The manager praised the performance of midfielder Joel Byrom this afternoon, whilst also stating that latest recruit Shaquile Coulthirst caused problems for the U’s defence.
“I thought Joel Byrom was absolutely stunning today. His performance and his array of passing short and long brought some good players into the game.
“I thought he (Coulthirst) gave them a real problem. The two centre-backs knew that when the ball went in to Shaq, it was a problem for them.
“His movement was terrific and I liked the build-up to the goal. It’s a good strike, the goalkeeper gets a good save, because I thought it was in, and Coulthirst does what he does. I’ve seen him do it many times and he bundles in there with his pace and puts it in an empty net.”
Looking ahead to the Checkatrade Trophy quarter-final against Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday evening, the gaffer says there will be changes to the squad for the visit of the Chairboys.
“I just said to the players in there, we have to trust all the players. We made a couple of changes today and we’ll make some changes for midweek, some enforced, some not and we’ll make some changes for Leyton Orient whatever some individuals do.
“There’s no point in having some players here if you don’t trust them.”
The boss said to www.mansfieldtown.net yesterday that he had to put negotiations for two or three players on hold to place his focus entirely on this afternoon’s match. However, speaking after the win at Cambridge, he revealed that they are awaiting written permission from an un-named club to speak to one of their players.
“We’re waiting for confirmation in writing. I got a call this morning from their chief executive to say we were at a liberty to talk to that player and I’ll pick that up tomorrow.
“I don’t want to take anything away from my players tonight because the players can enjoy the trip back. It really is about not [getting] too high and not [getting] too low if you’re going to be successful.”
Finally, the former Leeds United manager confirmed that the club has submitted a £300,000 bid for an undisclosed player.
Supporters can view manager Steve Evans’ post-match interview on Stags PlayerHD.