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'Ruthless' edge only thing missing from Vale display, says Stags' boss

21 April 2018

Stags' boss David Flitcroft has credited his side for the problems they caused Port Vale this afternoon at One Call Stadium, but admitted that his side lacked a 'ruthless' edge in front of goal.

Stags created a number of opportunities throughout the afternoon, and took a deserved lead in the 72nd minute by way of a Kyle Howkins own goal. Despite their dominance, Stags were made to share the spoils due to striker Tom Pope's 89th minute equaliser.

The Stags' manager praised his side for the way they played, but was frustrated by the amount of chances that went begging for his side.

"We created a lot and credit to the lads for taking Port Vale on and going after them with a real intensity," he said. "I thought the tempo of our passing and movement was good, and we caused them problems all afternoon.

“It’s important that [when you create lots of chances] you put teams to the sword and go two-nil and three-nil up, and that’s been the Achilles heel today.

"We have to make sure that when we dominate a team we take away all of their hope, and we’ve not done that.

"We’ve not been ruthless in key moments of the game. It’s been criminal what we’ve not done in the attacking half of the pitch.

"We’ve had chance after chance and completely dominated them, it’s one of the most one-sided games I’ve ever seen.

"We gave them hope to carry on until the end but it should’ve been out of sight. The goal that they scored was a punt up the pitch, we came out at the wrong time and it’s a scramble that’s gone in – but we gave them that hope.

"It’s important that [when you create lots of chances] you put teams to the sword and go two-nil and three-nil up, and that’s been the Achilles heel today."

David Flitcroft, manager

"It [the game] was in our hands, we had the three points and we let it slip. The goal that they scored came from a moment of us switching off - you can’t switch off in any league. It takes two or three seconds to score a goal.

"It’s really important that the players focus on the key moments and do the task in hand, and we’ve not been able to do that."

The Stags' boss also spoke of the push for a play-off spot, and despite today's result, still believes the competition for places will go on until the final day of the season.

"I think it [competition for play-off spots] will go to the wire and go to the last game and that was our game to assert the pressure.

"There will definitely be twists and turns, that’s what we see every season. We’ll get ready now for next week to take three points – we have to earn six points, we know what we have to do.

"We have to focus this group on the last two games and make sure we are as energetic as we were today, but with a focus to kill teams off.

"That’s what promotion teams do, they kill teams and they’re ruthless. That’s something that we have to come up with."

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager's answers in full by logging into later today.

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