Stags’ boss David Flitcroft conceded that his side were not ‘clinical’ enough against Swindon Town in today’s 0-0 draw, but was left pleased by another clean sheet and the continuation of the unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two, which now stretches to 16 matches.
The clean sheet in today’s contest maintained Stags’ impressive defensive record – the best in Sky Bet League Two this season – having only conceded 16 times in 23 matches.
The manager says his defensive players ‘focused’ well throughout the game.
“From the sideline, I think it looked an easier game than it actually was,” he said. “What I mean by that was the conditions and the wind in the first half.
“I think we could’ve been a bit braver and moved it round the pitch better. If we score some of those early chances, it gives the game a different complexion.
“It’s a clean sheet, another point to add to the total and we’re unbeaten again. They made it difficult for us and have quick players up front.
“In the second half, Conrad Logan’s not had a touch. I thought the referee broke the game up too much, and we couldn’t get in much of a flow whatsoever.
“I thought the three lads at the back and Logan, to keep the clean sheet, focused really well. But I didn’t think we were precise enough throughout the game.
"It’s a clean sheet, another point to add to the total and we’re unbeaten again. They made it difficult for us and have quick players up front."
“One thing Swindon did well is put their bodies on the line for each other. We pushed and pushed. Second half, the lads went out there and were brave. There was only one team trying to win that second half.”
The Stags’ boss added that the players have something to ‘protect’ in terms of the 16-match unbeaten record.
“We alert the players to keep making sure they protect each other and that [unbeaten] run that they’ve worked so hard for.
“We go out and try to win every game. We look to be positive to go and win games, and today’s no different.
“It was a real push to try and score that goal [in the second half]. We just weren’t clinical enough in the first half, where we had some good chances.”
The manager also gave his verdict on the season so far, with the game against Swindon being our final fixture of 2018.
“What the players have achieved in keeping their consistency, the credit goes to the group of players who have committed to what I’ve asked of them,” he added.
“We do demand high standards. The vision to bring good football to Mansfield Town and engage in the community is something that I am proud of.
“We are trying to deliver that on a number of fronts. I love the work the lads do in the community. Everything that you think a good football club should be about, we’re heading in the right direction.
“Can we improve things? Always. That’s continual, it doesn’t stop; especially when you’re trying to drive up the league.
“I have a chairman and CEO who understand about improving and driving business. The staff here are brilliant, and the support they give me is phenomenal.
“We’re only halfway there. Can things get better? A million per cent. I have a group of players who want to improve and want to play for Mansfield Town. I think that’s something that is really important to me as a person and a manager.”
Earlier this week, we announced that former Football League manager Greg Abbott had been appointed as the club’s new head of football operations, an appointment that the Stags’ chief explained in further detail after today’s game.
“I don’t want things going missing in terms of phone calls and the office side of stuff. The agents are relentless now and they have been for about the last six weeks.
“It’s about really building the football plan that we’ve started, and Greg’s coming in to be able to do that.
“It gives me someone that I can go to for football support. It’s about supporting me, supporting Futch [assistant manager Ben Futcher] in always making the best decisions for the football club.
“I think it’s a role that a lot of football clubs have now. It’s about tying everything together and keeping that pathway clear.
“Over the past two weeks we’ve been looking at our squad and the balance. We have just over four weeks to make sure we make good decisions.
“The team is up there at the top of the league, so we’ve had interest ourselves from other clubs. It’s about coming out of the window stronger than we went into it.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.