Speaking after Stags’ 2-1 victory over Lincoln City, in which the on-loan Derby County midfielder made his first appearance for Mansfield, Timi Elsnik spoke of his joy to be once again working with David Flitcroft, who he describes as a ‘really good manager.’
Elsnik joined the Stags last Friday, hours before the closure of the loan transfer window, and slotted straight into the Mansfield midfield this evening, as Flitcroft’s side came back from behind at Sincil Bank to make a winning start to their Checkatrade Trophy campaign.
Following the win, the midfielder was full of praise for the Mansfield boss, having worked with him last season at Swindon Town.
“I’ve been in contact with the gaffer for a couple of weeks before that [loan deadline day],” said Elsnik. “I played under him at Swindon last season so I know him and he knows me. When he moved to Mansfield he said he was looking to get me in to strengthen the midfield.
“We’ve been in touch but it was up to the clubs to get the deal done. It went down to the last day and I’m just glad I’m here.
“He [the manager] tells you what he wants you to do which is good, because you know what to expect and what you have to do. He is a very good manager. He knows his players well and knows how to position us on the pitch.
“He looks forward to the future how we are going to play, not just now, but in the next half of the season. I think he gives us great advice as he always knows the opponents really well. I just think he’s a really good manager.
"He [the manager] tells you what he wants you to do which is good, because you know what to expect and what you have to do. He is a very good manager. He knows his players well and knows how to position us on the pitch."
“Last season, [the manager spoke to me] after one of the games. I came on at half-time but scored two goals. After the game, I went to the gym to do a bit extra as I felt I hadn’t done enough.
“So about an hour after the game he walks in and goes ‘what are you doing?’ so I told him I was doing a bit extra for myself. He was blown away. So I think after that he sees me as a great professional.
“In modern football you have to be like that to improve yourself and be as good as you can be.
“Back in Slovenia I was raised that way. When you grow up in Slovenia, football is not great there. So you have to do whatever you can to make it. I was so happy to come to England.”
The 20-year-old added that it is a ‘great feeling’ to be back amongst first team action, and says that the Stags’ players have given him a warm welcome upon his arrival at the club.
“It’s a great feeling being back in a first-team competitive game. I’m really happy that we finished with a win.
“I think I did okay. I’m always humble and I can always get better. Hopefully I will get some goals for this club in the future. I want to score in every game.
“I’m happy with my performance but it can be loads better. I could offer a bit more going forward and get some goals and assists. I think I am a creative player and the gaffer sees me that way as well.
“The lads are brilliant. They accepted me so well in my first training [session] yesterday. They are a great group of lads to be around and I think they are good players as well. We have a good, strong squad and I am looking forward to the season with them.”
Elsnik also spoke of his aims for the season ahead, and says he is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd at One Call Stadium.
“League Two is a tough league,” he added. Last season was a great experience for me and I know what to expect. It’s a big challenge and that’s what we want to do. It’s great to play any first team football really.
“Everyone’s goal is to play higher [gain promotion], and I am here to help the lads achieve that. [I want to] get as many goals as I can but first make my League debut [for Mansfield] and play at home in front of the fans.”
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