Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has described the pride he feels for his players and Mansfield’s fans following the valiant performance by his side against West Brom this evening.
Mansfield fans turned up in their numbers for the game, 1,183 to be exact, and were vocal throughout the contest.
Following the narrow 2-1 loss, the manager explained how ‘proud’ he felt of the fans, and commended his players for the way they performed, in a game that they may have won on another night.
“I’m proud of the players and I’m proud of the club,” he said. “The way we’ve represented each other tonight, the way the supporters have sung for the team, the way they’ve supported and sang louder than West Brom.
“The ovation at the end tells you what the players committed to. It was a committed performance. We had some glorious moments to go and win the game.
“There was a lot of quality on show from both teams. We did go toe-to-toe on the quality levels. How we’ve not scored three or four tonight is beyond me. You get those games.
“We’re creating chances and going to try and win games. We’re taking a risk every single game.
“You get it to 1-1 and we just kept going for it and trying to find a way to win the game, and we’ve not been able to pull it off.
“I desperately wanted for the owners to get in that next round and I’ve not achieved that. It’s not just disappointment, I’m gutted.
"It’s hard to say the words ‘pride’ and ‘positives’ when we’ve not won, but I think the supporters that have come to the game saw and felt that power. They were brilliant. Absolutely outstanding."
“The team tonight displayed characteristics that I wanted them to display. I’ve just said to them that it’s a mindset to come here and represent their families, represent the town in such a manner that it makes Saturday [against Macclesfield] even more disappointing.
“It’s hard to say the words ‘pride’ and ‘positives’ when we’ve not won, but I think the supporters that have come to the game saw and felt that power. They were brilliant. Absolutely outstanding.
“It’s just that calmness and that execution [that we’re missing]. When we get it, the draws will turn into wins. They’ve shown good quality and worked hard as well.”
Stags’ boss Flitcroft also spoke of Neal Bishop’s performance, in a game where his stunning strike levelled the score 20 minutes from time.
“The kid [Bishop] is a goal machine, that’s what I brought him in for [laughs]. No, it was a fantastic strike,” said the manager. “That sums his performance up, that professional strike. He’s at the age he is, but he just gets better with age.
“He comes to these places and wants to make a memory and get the boys through it. He’s absolutely on the floor in there [dressing room].
“He’s come here tonight to represent and he’s done that. He’s done everything he can. But the strike is just Neal Bishop. He’s pristine in his work and pristine in what he does.”
Mansfield carved out plenty of chances to win the game, with Danny Rose hitting the post and an opportunity even falling to the feet of Stags’ ’keeper Bobby Olejnik in added time.
“I’m thinking he [Rose] has caught it right,” said the Stags’ boss. “When the luck is on your side, that hits the first post and it hits the second and it goes in. When it doesn’t, you think ‘is it our night?’
“Young Jordan came on and had a chance. Even Bobby Olejnik had a chance! Pearcey, it just opened up for him. Those key moments, you just have to make the right decision.
“It was the bravery that the boys showed, it was the running that they showed. We’re talking about a Championship team here, but it’s a Premier League club. We took them on and tried to go toe-to-toe but like I said, we’re not in the next round. That kills me.
“I have to make sure the players believe they are good players. I’ve just told them that. That they’ve heightened their senses and their focus levels.
“We didn’t make enough impact from the bench on Saturday. I got a couple of decisions wrong when I look back. Bringing Otis off was a poor decision from me. We’ve assessed our role in not getting three points at Macclesfield.
“But tonight our subs have made a real impact. Bobby might get his chance up front on Saturday!
“He [Olejnik] has waited for his chance and he’s waited patiently. He’s been supportive and unbelievably professional.
“He’s got his chance and he’s taken it. I thought his performance was outstanding in everything he did. His distribution, his knowhow, his thought, his movement off the line. A lot of positives.”
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