Stags' boss David Flitcroft has said he was 'encouraged' by the fight shown by his players in today's narrow 1-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley.
Left-back Mal Benning was sent off for a high challenge on Billy Kee in the 13th minute, and midfielder Seamus Conneely’s second-half header was the difference between the two sides on the day.
Despite the loss, the Stags’ boss picked plenty of positives from the performance, and was ‘encouraged’ by how hard his players battled after going a man down.
“In the big games we have to show control and composure,” he said.
“We were under the cosh since that [Benning red card], but it was the best start to a football match we’ve had since I’ve been here.
“Encouraged is the word. The boys fought tooth and nail for each other and that’s what the supporters of Mansfield demand from the players."
“We had intensity to what we did, we looked threatening and caused them some real early problems. After that [red card], I thought we got to half-time fantastically well.
“It’s the first time I’ve looked at the group and thought ‘these boys are fighting for each other,’ and there was a real effort through the whole of the game.
“Encouraged is the word. The boys fought tooth and nail for each other and that’s what the supporters of Mansfield demand from the players.
“I’ve said to the players that they should walk out today knowing that they have given all they can give.
“You can look at today and say it’s another defeat but there are plenty of positives that I’ve seen today.”
Flitcroft added that he agreed with referee Andy Haines’ decision to send off Benning in the first-half, and that it is only a matter of time before the Stags turn good performances into wins.
“I thought it [the red card] was the right decision, it didn’t look great,” he said. “One lapse of concentration has cost us.
“Accrington didn’t create a lot, we nullified them to just a few chances and we made some good chances ourselves.
“We have a big squad that I’m determined to bring together, and when we get it right we’ll start driving wins.”
Stags have a quick turnaround before their next game, as they wil make the long trip down to Luton Town on Monday (3pm kick-off).
Supporters can view the manager's post match interview in full on iFollow Stags.