Stags’ boss David Flitcroft was keen to credit all of his players for preserving a second successive clean sheet in Mansfield’s 1-0 win over Morecambe at Globe Arena this evening.
Midfielder Neal Bishop fired home the only goal of the contest in the 36th minute, sending a crashing volley home from just outside the area.
The Mansfield boss was not only quick to praise his defenders for preserving the clean sheet, but also noted the effort from the entire Stags’ side, stating that keeping the opposition at bay ‘starts from the front.’
“Matty Preston came in at half-time with an ankle injury, patched it up and went out there and kept a clean sheet,” said the gaffer.
“The clean sheet starts from the front and the players were working so hard for the clean sheet. We have a really good defensive record this season.
“The trip home from Swindon was completely different to the trip home from Cambridge. It was important how the players understood how they got that clean sheet down at Swindon.
“To get that second successive clean sheet is important. People just look at the defenders and the goalkeeper for clean sheets, but Danny Rose’s stats were through the roof chasing the ball.
“There were lots of positives tonight. I thought KP [Pearce] marshalled the game fantastically well.
"To get that second successive clean sheet is important. People just look at the defenders and the goalkeeper for clean sheets, but Danny Rose’s stats were through the roof chasing the ball."
“Having Bish [Neal Bishop] back gave us structure in the centre of the pitch. I thought he was excellent.”
The manager also spoke of the 144 Stags’ fans who made the journey up to Lancashire this evening, who he described as ‘brilliant.’
“It’s three-and-a-half hours [to get] up here. I look at the supporters who have travelled up on a Tuesday night. They’ve been brilliant.
“I think of the two games at Bury and Cambridge that we didn’t see out and I was disappointed for the supporters.
“We were worthy of three points the way we played and the way we battled. I say to the players after, ‘how do we now improve that performance?’ We just have to go and finish our chances and put them to the sword.
“I’m delighted with the clean sheet. I think the boys worked really hard for that. Our defensive record is absolutely brilliant.
“I don’t think there was much [difference between the sides]. I thought we dealt with the conditions well and we tried to play it through the pitch.
“We calculated our work tonight and we were brave in our work. We must have had 15 one against ones on this side of the pitch [with CJ Hamilton].
“We had the lion’s share of the ball and we moved it well. But that last bit, we’ll keep improving on that.”
Tonight’s win means it is ten games unbeaten on the road for David Flitcroft’s side – a new club record – yet he conceded that Mansfield should have perhaps picked up more points during this impressive run.
“[Reasons for unbeaten away record are] discipline, organisation and a willingness to run more than the opposition and put your body on the line,” said the manager.
“There is something inside me that feels that it [record] should not be celebrated because I want more points. And we’re hungry for that.
“There is a spirit that has been grown since I have come here. A team has to do both sides of the game and we are certainly showing that.”
Last night, the Stags were drawn at home to Charlton in the first round of the FA Cup, and the boss shared his feelings on the fixture, which will take place over the weekend commencing Friday 09 November.
“The FA Cup is one of the best cup competitions. It’s a competition with tradition. Every club has an opportunity, and in this round there are teams that have got that opportunity and got into round one.
“We have Charlton in a home tie which is good. I look back at pre-season and the Championship teams we played, who gave us an opportunity to set traps and win the ball off them.
“Charlton will bring a different style of play to most League Two clubs and they’re riding high in League One.
“You have to be stimulated by the FA Cup. I have a group of players who are running for each other and giving everything for the shirt.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.