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Stags should have beaten Bluebirds - gaffer

6 January 2018

Stags' boss Steve Evans believes his side created enough good chances to attain a victory in this afternoon's 0-0 draw with Cardiff City in the Emirates FA Cup third round, but warns there's still a lot of work to do to cement their place in the fourth round.

A gritty performance in the Welsh capital ensured Stags secured a well-deserved replay against the Bluebirds, who currently occupy third place in the Championship - 51 places above the Stags in the English football pyramid. 

And after seeing his side go toe-to-toe with their higher division opponents, the boss commented that his side's chances were worthy of winning the cup tie.

"We should have won today. The two big chances that we create through some wonderful football in the second half could lead to goals," the Stags' chief said.

"We worked so hard against a very experienced Championship group which Neil [Warnock] selected. He started with big guns and he was bringing even more big guns on near the end.

"I thought we were in control for long periods of the game in the second half but if somebody had said this morning 'you can take it back home to the One Call Stadium' then we'd have said 'yes'.

"Without a doubt Paul Anderson has the best chance. If Lee Angol, he's a striker, so he's going to take a touch and try and score a goal, but if he leaves it, probably [CJ] Hamilton's running onto it, that's how it looks at first sight.

"I thought we were in control for long periods of the game in the second half but if somebody had said this morning 'you can take it back home to the One Call Stadium' then we'd have said 'yes'."

Steve Evans, manager

"Both are good chances. Paul Anderson's gone 80 yards to get into that position, [Alex] MacDonald's won two challenges and gone through the middle and it's a sublime pass. We were well on top at that stage."

Stags will now welcome the Bluebirds to One Call Stadium in a replay, provisionally scheduled for week commencing 15 January, and the gaffer is under no illusions as to how tough it will be for his side to book their place in the fourth round.

"I said to the players at half-time 'you've had a good look at them now, they're good players and they're to be respected but when you respect someone, you have to work hard and smart against them'.

"I thought we did that in the second half and we were the team, certainly for the mid-20 minutes in the second half, we were driving at them and they were hanging on a bit. Neil made some changes to shore it up a bit, as you saw, and then we took 'a point' comfortably. The question was can we win the game?

"We know it's going to be so tough in the replay, let's not get carried away thinking anything than more than Cardiff's going to be really tough.

"I'm not interested in the draw, I won't watch it, I would if we won, but we'll worry about that when Cardiff come to Mansfield."

The former Leeds United manager, who has previously reached the fifth round of the FA Cup twice as a manager, praised the travelling Stags' faithful for their fervent support throughout the encounter.

"We've come to a stadium where we're back by 1,100-1,200 Mansfield fans - they're right behind us from kick-off. They were giving words of encouragement all day, not words of doom and gloom and that spurred the boys on.

"The boys just remarked on it when they came in the dressing room – wasn't it wonderful to be backed by a support like that? I'm the first to echo it; I'm the first to say when it's not right but I'm the first to pay a tribute to those supporters."

The gaffer also revealed that striker Kane Hemmings, who was forced off just before half-time, 'felt his hamstring tighten up' and he was substituted as a precaution.

Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view the manager's full post-match interview.


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