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Interviews

New-look Stags showing good signs of cohesion

19 July 2017

Assistant manager Paul Raynor is pleased with how the Stags' new-look squad are gelling following tonight's 2-2 draw at home to Championship side Middlesbrough.

Stags raced into a 2-0 lead at One Call Stadium thanks to a Jonny Howson own goal and an excellent finish by striker Lee Angol, but they were pegged back before the break as defender Dael Fry and winger Mikael Soisalo responded for Garry Monk's side. 

So far in pre-season, Stags have recorded a 5-0 victory over a Malta Players' XI, defeated Stocksbridge Park Steels 4-0 and ended on the wrong side of a 3-2 scoreline against a strong Sheffield Wednesday outfit.

And Raynor believes the Stags are progressing well, both in terms of their fitness and how the squad are bonding on the pitch.

"We've looked at the science about it and how we can utilise the game time and it's gone fantastically well," Raynor said.

"There's been some good performances, the fitness levels have looked particularly good and we're where we want to be in terms of fitness and how we're gelling as a team.

"On the back of last night's performance and the performance against a team that was in the Premier League last season, I don't think really, bar a couple of centre-halves, they could've been any stronger so I think the quality of our play, particularly in the first half [was very good].

"We nullified the threat in the second half and to be fair, we were worthy of at least a draw.

In the first half, to go 2-0 up against a team of that quality was exceptional.

Paul Raynor, assistant manager

"In the first half, to go 2-0 up against a team of that quality was exceptional. We switched off a little bit; you always hear people talking about you being susceptible just after you've scored and we'll have to learn those lessons."

After displaying highly competitive performances against both Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday and Garry Monk's Middlesbrough tonight, Raynor says it has been fantastic for Stags to come up against such high quality opposition.

"These games are fantastic. We've had a long close season, although a busy one in terms of getting people in and getting the squad together but over time it's growing.

"We've had a very enjoyable couple of games and now we've got a game at Stamford and then a fantastic one to look forward to against Forest on Saturday.

"The quality of opposition we've had here this week has been absolutely fantastic. A full strength, pretty much, Sheffield Wednesday team, a team that graced the Premier League [last season] tonight and then we've got one of our local rivals on Saturday at home – it doesn't get any better. I hope it's a big crowd and we can entertain them as well."

Stags can now look forward to a trip to Evo-Stik Northern Premier League side Stamford on Friday before welcoming Nottingham Forest on Saturday and former Cambridge United midfielder Raynor has expressed the importance of recovery ahead of those games.

"We tried to split it a little bit between last night and tonight and everybody's come through pretty much unscathed, apart from a few tired legs, I'm sure. They'll recover well and we'll be ready for the weekend.

"The boys will have a bit of a recovery day and then get back to it. It's absolutely important that we recover. They've put a lot of effort in – it's the first real 90 minutes they've had last night and today so it's absolutely vital that we get the recovery ready for the weekend."

Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view Paul Raynor's full post-match interview.

 


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