Stags’ boss David Flitcroft says that he saw ‘some of the best football’ that Mansfield have played this season during this afternoon’s 3-1 win over Stevenage at the Lamex Stadium.
Mansfield went into the break a goal down despite dominating the first period, yet second half goals from Tyler Walker and Ryan Sweeney secured the three points in our final away game of 2018.
The manager says his charges were on top throughout the contest.
“We’ll call it a comeback, but that first half is one of the best first halves we’ve had all season,” he said. “The way we moved the ball, it’s some of the best football we’ve played.
“There was a lack of ruthlessness first half. But they got into our half twice in the first half and scored a goal.
“You could see that the changing room wasn’t flat, but it was stunned. That was as dominant as we’ve been in a first half. It was like playing an away team.
“Watching us today, that’s the football I want. The fans dominated and our supporters kept singing. I said if we stay focused [in the second half] and kept going, we’ll pull this result round.
“Today represented a good group of people that didn’t want to get beat. They [Stevenage] threw it up the pitch second half and we coped with it fantastically well.
“There was more of a desire second half. Danny [Rose]’s header back across was good and allowed us to score.
"The way we moved the ball, it’s some of the best football we’ve played."
“We worked the ball well [second half], but there was probably more quality in the first half. I couldn’t speak for two minutes [at half-time] I had a crazy headache at what had just happened.”
The win stretched Mansfield’s unbeaten streak in away games to 14 matches in Sky Bet League Two, a club record. The manager labelled preparation as the main reason for the impressive feat.
“Preparation is key [in maintaining away record],” he added. “I get unbelievable support at this football club. The lads commit to the right things when they are on away trips.
“I have a group of players that are honest, and I’ve always said that. To get a record like this is not a fluke.
“We stay in nice hotels, travel down on nice coaches. The club does everything to get these boys prepared and they commit to that.”
The boss also previewed the busy festive schedule, with a clash against Bury at One Call Stadium on Boxing Day being the next challenge for his side.
“I explained to the players the importance of Christmas Day, to the lads that have got families. We have quite a young team, and [it was about] if they wanted to run for those lads to get Christmas Day off.
“We’ll see where our recovery lines are at tomorrow. Today is another three points that the lads have absolutely earned.
“MK Dons and Forest Green play some fantastic football, and Bury have sort of set the bar really with the football they play as well.
“I want to create an identity here and the supporters are starting to recognise that. They’re recognising that difference in performance and style, and that’s been important for me from day one.
“I’m from a footballing family and football is what we do at Christmas. It’s what we’re used to. We know what Christmas is about.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.