Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has promised to deliver a ‘promotion winning squad’ for the Mansfield Town faithful, speaking after today’s game in a frank look back on the season.
The curtain closed on Mansfield Town’s season this afternoon, ending with a 1-1 draw against Crawley Town at One Call Stadium.
Stags finished eighth in Sky Bet League Two, three points off the final play-off spot.
And the manager, speaking after the game, says he will bring solutions to the club ahead of next season, where he plans to ‘build’ a squad worthy of winning promotion..
“When I get this right, it [the team] will have all the ingredients of what a Mansfield Town supporter wants,” he said.
“It’ll be fit, it’ll be dynamic, it’ll be able to run harder than any other team. It will fight, out-think, and out-pass any other team. And that’s my promise to the Mansfield Town supporters.
“You can’t just throw money and expect it to work. This team has been built and it’s probably the most expensive team in the league. But I want hungry players, I want players who want to train every day to get better.
“I want players who want to go up to the Champ[ionship]. Not ex-Championship players who just want to pick up the money, I want players who want to play for Mansfield Town week-in, week-out and train hard.
“The way to get fit is challenge yourself every day, work hard every day and work hard away from the football club.
"It’s been a failed promotion season, and there’s obviously reasons, which I now understand. I will find those reasons and bring solutions in order to make this the best football team in the league."
“That is what me and my staff will do all summer until I have built my team, with my methodology and in my spirit because what I have seen here is a group of supporters who want a team that’s committed, move the ball, are technically good, and that’s what I’ll deliver.
“They [the players] weren’t fit enough [when I arrived], that was absolutely clear. But I’ve seen a real change in mindset, and I’ve seen a real change from Saturday to Saturday when you can do lots of work on the training ground.
“It’s been a failed promotion season, and there’s obviously reasons, which I now understand. I will find those reasons and bring solutions in order to make this the best football team in the league.
“I think some players are on too much money at this football club. When I look at Accrington, and Wycombe to an extent, I look at the togetherness of the squad. There was a disharmony when I walked in here. There was a divided culture and there wasn’t a togetherness.
“Did I expect to walk into that? No. Have I tried to galvanise that? Yes. We’ve not been able to see games out so I need players who can do that.
“You can’t fluke promotion, you have to design it, you have to build it. We will design it and that’s what we are in the process of doing.”
The Stags’ boss also spoke of the squad he wants to take into next season, saying there are players he ‘loves’ working with at One Call Stadium, and that the hard work has already started ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
“There are players I desperately want to work with and I’ve loved working with them. They have energised me in tough spells,” he added.
“The people who work for this football club are outstanding and they want it to do well. The supporters want it to be successful and I’ll bring success.
“There’s going to have to be trust both ways and I’ll earn that trust through miles and miles of hard work.
“It [the hard work] has already started. We’ve been planning as if we did get into the play-offs or get promoted so the work has already started.
“I’m meeting players, meeting agents non-stop. Football is my life and it’s my family’s life.
“Absolutely [it’s to early to talk about new signings]. We have testing next week for the players to see where they’re at and how many sessions they have to do over the course of the summer.
“The window has been cut short now, we have to be done by the start of the season, so it is a quicker process that it’s ever going to be and we have to be on top of that.”
The manager also looked back on what was a dominant performance by the Stags this afternoon, but one that saw many chances go begging for the home side.
“I can only really compare to what’s happened in my tenure. It [creating chances] is something that the lads have committed to in training.
“It’s quite similar to the Port Vale game where we created some absolutely brilliant openings and the quality of play and the way we kept cutting Crawley open and attacking them from all angles [was brilliant].
“Now we just have to go and get that second and third but I’m a stuck record now. It’s something I keep saying.
“You look at the promoted teams getting near to the 100-goal mark and it’s something that to get promoted you need to reach.
“I think it’s the story of the season that the team has not scored enough goals. We kept probing and the fight, desire and commitment that you ask [for] and want from the team [was there].
“It’s one of the best atmospheres I’ve been involved with. It was absolutely incredible. I’m gutted and disappointed [for the fans].”