Stags’ boss Steve Evans dubbed his side's overall performance against Plymouth Argyle as ‘outstanding’ and has put the 2-0 defeat down to fine margins at both ends of the pitch.
A Graham Carey-inspired five minutes turned the match in favour of the Pilgrims as his 69th-minute free-kick was headed home at the far post by Sonny Bradley before the Irishman curled a 30-yard free-kick into the top corner.
And the manager was left bemused at how his side didn’t collect three points at One Call Stadium this afternoon after dominating the encounter.
“I feel sorry for my players," said the manager.
"There was only one team playing proper football on the pitch, one team makes all the chances and in fairness to them, our centre-backs don’t pick up from a set play and they take advantage of that.
“The performance was outstanding today and I didn’t go in there (the dressing room) and knock it, I went in there and said it’s fine margins in both boxes.
“We were bemused at half-time; it’s 0-0 and it should be five or six. But we said that at Yeovil after time up, it should have been five or six and we said it at Cheltenham when it should have been two or three.
“We’re not taking our chances and that always makes it harder at the back. If you switch off and you get punished, it’s a problem and I’ve always said at this level, it’s fine margins.”
Stags had eight shots on target against the Pilgrims this afternoon and despite being disappointed at being unable to convert one of them into a goal, the boss reiterated how pleased he was with the overall performance.
“You’re always going to worry if you’re not making chances. We’ve annihilated them today in terms of making chances - [we were] first to the ball, second balls and we switch off for the free-kick leading to the first goal.
“It was all one-sided and it wasn’t just the way that we played, it was our intensity, our passing, our moving. We opened them up time and again.
“I can’t get down with the performance but I can certainly get down with the result. If that’s the benchmark going forward to get promoted out of the league then we’re heading in the right direction because that benchmark’s not high.
“If we play like that, we’ll beat anyone home and away. We need to play like that and have someone who can take a chance, but equally, we can’t switch off defensively.”
A home support of 3,889 supporters backed the Stags inside One Call Stadium today and the former Leeds United gaffer labelled them ‘magnificent’.
“The fans were like all of us at half-time, they were bemused as to why it’s 0-0 because it should be five [nil].
“The supporters have been magnificent and they stuck behind the team but they’ve seen a good performance today. They’ll be as disappointed as I am but it’s the lowest I’ve been since I became the gaffer here because we didn’t deserve that.”
To view the manager’s post-match interview, login to Stags PlayerHD.