Stags’ boss David Flitcroft was quick to praise his side for the way they created chances aplenty against League One outfit Charlton Athletic, yet conceded that the Addicks’ ruthlessness in front of goal was the main factor in the defeat at The Valley.
In a rather bizarre evening of football in South London, Mansfield were the better side for large portions of the contest, yet succumbed to a 5-0 scoreline, made up mostly by Lyle Taylor’s hat-trick of well-taken strikes.
The manager was pleased with the effort that his charges displayed, yet picked out Taylor’s performance as the difference between the two sides.
“Sometimes things don’t add up or stack up,” he said. “On the end of a 5-0 defeat, I’ve watched a group of lads give each other everything they’ve got.
“They ran for each other and at times the quality was outstanding. We carved them open on numerous occasions. That’s probably the difference between League Two and League One – the ruthlessness.
“They had five chances and scored five goals. Lyle Taylor was the difference tonight. I thought he was outstanding.
“We didn’t even deserve to go into the break at 1-0 down. We were miles better in the first half.
“I’m not deluded with it. Those lads did not deserve what happened to them on the third goal. I find it amateurish and it makes it look bad when the referee gives a decision and our three defenders go up the pitch, to then change your mind and let them [Charlton] take it, is just beyond me.
“To get it wrong, it took all of the resolve that this team has and took it away from them.
“In the end with five, to the fans that have not been down here, it looks bad but it’s not the case. We created very good chances and we hurt them.
“Congratulations to Charlton because they have got a good team. Our chance was probably back at home, and we’ve got an apology from the FA after that [offside equaliser that forced the replay].
"They ran for each other and at times the quality was outstanding. We carved them open on numerous occasions. That’s probably the difference between League Two and League One – the ruthlessness."
“Our lads have covered every blade for each other and the supporters tonight. I’m honest in my appraisal of my team, and they didn’t deserve to get beat by five tonight.
“At half-time I said that it’s really important that we still keep believing. We’re creating lots of chances.”
Following the defeat, the Mansfield boss says he will make sure that his players do not dwell over tonight’s scoreline.
“It won’t [knock the players’ confidence]. We’re staying over tonight and I’ve said if I see any sulking or moping, I’ll send them home. We’re a team and I won’t allow any victims.
“We have a big game on Saturday and I won’t have anyone with poor body language. When we get back home to Mansfield, we have to make sure that everyone is understanding that the next important day in our life is the preparation for Lincoln.
“Our passing was crisp and had quality but we didn’t defend with the right intensity at times. In the first half we got everything right.
“Even at 2-0 I still really believed that we could get back in it. Maybe we missed Bish [Neal Bishop] who was ill. We hope so [he will be fit for Saturday]. He didn’t travel with us.
“I think at times he is the glue. I don’t think we get beat by five if Bish is in the centre. It was a bit of a loss.
“The team I picked tonight went toe-to-toe. I won’t judge what happened tonight on the last eight minutes. They had five opportunities and scored five goals.”
The manager also gave an update on his current injury list, before looking ahead to Stags’ next fixture – a clash against high-flying Lincoln in Sky Bet League Two.
“He [Craig Davies] has had an injection today on his ankle. He’s not getting the power that we want in his movement. Hopefully he’ll be right for the weekend.
“Probably not [Alex MacDonald and Otis Khan being fit for Saturday]. It will probably come too soon for them. We have a full programme of games coming up so we’ll get them back I n the right time.
“MK Dons, the way they play, they’re the team to be reckoned with for me. Lincoln have been consistent with what they’ve done this season.
“They’ve won a lot of football matches and have done a lot of winning. We just want a referee that’s strong. It’s a place that’s been built up and has that noise and atmosphere.
“It’ll be a tough task but we are excited by the challenge and I will look forward to going in there and competing.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Jacob Mellis was withdrawn midway through the first half as a precautionary measure after over-stretching, the manager added.
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.