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Stags showed desire to keep clean sheet - Bishop

29 December 2018

Midfielder Neal Bishop believes that Mansfield Town’s desire to keep yet another clean sheet showed this afternoon, as they were held to a 0-0 draw against Swindon Town.

Recording their 11th clean sheet in 23 league games thus far, the Stags were forced to settle for a point against the Robins despite dominating large parts of the game.

It also ensured they continued to boast the league’s best defensive record, having conceded only 16 times.

The first-half saw an even mix of chances for both sides, but the second period’s notable opportunities fell the way of the hosts who were unable to capitalise.

However, Bishop believes that his side battled hard to keep their latest clean sheet and it was put on show for all to see.

“I think you’ve seen the desire to keep the clean sheet,” he declared. “It was massive, not just from the back three and goalkeeper, but from the whole team.

“We’ll take a point and move on. If you’re going to be successful you’re not going to play well for 46 league games – you need to dig out results and that’s what we’ve done.

“First half it was blowing a gale down our throats so we found it hard to get out at times. But we created one or two chances, and to be fair they did as well.

"I think you’ve seen the desire to keep the clean sheet. It was massive, not just from the back three and goalkeeper, but from the whole team."

Neal Bishop, midfielder

“Ultimately when you’re not playing at your best you have to grind out results and we’ve done that today.”

The 37-year-old also highlighted Swindon’s organisation and resilience, yet conceded that his side were not at their best on Saturday afternoon.

“Collectively we probably weren’t at it like we were Boxing Day but no two games are ever the same. You’re not going to play explosive, expansive football every game as much as you want to.

“Sometimes you have to take your hats off to the opposition, too. They’ve come here and done really well.

“They were organised and got themselves behind the ball well. We probably weren’t at our ruthless best going forward, a couple of little mistakes let them in, but when we were in the final third we didn’t have that pass or that opportunity.

“That’s credit to them because they got a lot of bodies back; especially at the end around the goalmouth they defended for their lives, so fair play to them.

“Today maybe we were 10 or 15 percent off it but if we get back to it we’re confident we can win most games we play.

Bishop also looked ahead to Mansfield’s next two fixtures as they face Grimsby Town and Carlisle United – with the former enjoying a spell of four consecutive victories.

“I’m greedy – I wish we’d have won today to make it a perfect nine points. We’ve remained unbeaten with one defeat in half a season,” he continued.

“It shows the desire, commitment and attitude to work with each other that’s instilled from the manager.

“It was all shown today and we’re going to need that determination next week because Grimsby are on a little run and Carlisle are a good footballing team at their place.

“And it’s another two tests with the games coming thick and fast.

“We give everyone in this league respect, of course you do, but if we’re on it we can pick up our game and get back to what we’re good at.”

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

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