Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has reflected on this afternoon’s performance against Exeter City, and believes his side did not cause the Grecians enough ‘problems,’ when comparing it to recent Mansfield displays.
Tyler Walker’s goal sparked a resurgence from the Stags in the second-half, yet it would not be enough, as strikes from Dean Moxey and Nicky Law granted Exeter all three points.
The manager was frank in his assessment of his team’s performance, emphasising that his charges lacked quality in the final third throughout.
“We had something to protect being unbeaten,” he said. “But now it’s ended and we start again. We have to make sure we get our work right and we concentrate on everything.
“I’ve said to the players about [Hiram] Boateng’s late run. You can’t track a player like that 99 percent of the time. It’s got to be 100 percent of the time.
“Once he gets into those positions, he has runners like Law and [Jayden] Stockley to pick out, which he did really well.
“The first goal [came] totally against the run of play. We can’t get rocked like we did. For the first 20 minutes of the first-half I thought we moved the ball really well, but didn’t hurt them enough.
“He [Dean Moxey] scores a good goal. He comes inside and curls it. It’s a good finish. We just didn’t compose ourselves for the next ten minutes.
We didn’t cause them enough problems, like we’ve caused other teams. They’re up there and they’re a really good team. Credit to Exeter. But we were down on our work today and that’s what disappoints me."
“I’m disappointed with a lot of aspects of ours today. Our quality wasn’t there what it has been. We let ourselves down.
“For me, football is about your last touch, the last thing you do. The last cross, your end product, your finish. We’ve got ourselves into really good wide positions and just failed on that final delivery.
“[In the] second-half we had to be more forceful. We changed the way we did things. We have got a plan B. We got it forward with urgency and created a few more problems.
“Again, it’s about your quality of delivery or quality of cross when Danny Rose is on the pitch. I think we gave him some scraps to feed off, but I don’t think our quality was A1. Eventually it [our goal] came from a cross where Danny has headed it down and Tyler’s got on the end of it.
“We didn’t cause them enough problems, like we’ve caused other teams. They’re up there and they’re a really good team. Credit to Exeter. But we were down on our work today and that’s what disappoints me.
“[We] wasted a lot of the ball today in real key areas. That’s where we need to improve and we certainly will improve.”
The Stags’ boss reiterated that his players created good opportunities for themselves, yet it was just the final ball that was lacking in the display.
“They [Exeter] fill the middle of the pitch so there are opportunities to get it wide, which we did first-half. We switched the ball really well in the first 20 minutes.
“But again, that crossing opportunity we turned down, or that shooting opportunity. I think that the fluidity in the passing was there but there was no punch, no real drive in that last third.
“Second-half, when Danny [Rose] is on, he’s a threat in the air; there’s no doubt about that. The players know that when he comes on or starts.
“The quality wasn’t there today. Whoever was in that crossing position seemed to not miss the first man [or] didn’t pull it back well enough. We had a lot of opportunities to really attack and work the ball well, and we didn’t hurt them. That’s the most disappointing thing of the afternoon.”
The Mansfield boss went on to speak about striker Craig Davies, who missed out on today’s fixture due to a hamstring strain, which is not thought to be serious.
He also discussed how his players will pick themselves up ahead of next week’s clash away to Cambridge United.
“Craig Davies gives us another option when we are probably a little bit slow in our play,” he added. “We can hit the diagonal into Davo and he can hold it up and we can work around him.
“I did feel as though playing with the two number 10s, Otis [Khan] and Butch [Calum Butcher], I felt if we could retain it in that area of the pitch and get CJ [Hamilton] higher and Whitey [Hayden White] higher, then we’d hurt them in behind.
“We’ll certainly dust ourselves down. We’ll walk in here Monday morning with a purpose and a real verve, to then prepare for our next game.
“It’s really important now that we drive that momentum. The players are disappointed. The only way you deal with disappointment is by going to attack it. That’s what we’ll certainly do come Monday.
“[We didn’t create] enough good chances. That’s part of the problem, the quality of work in that last third evaded us today. It wasn’t there, so I can’t stand here and say it was.
“We threatened to, and we got in good positions, but we just fell short. We’ll keep extensively working on the training ground and we’ll keep working to improve.
“[We’ll] keep making sure we get better at what we do. It’s about minimising threats and maximising what we do. We just fell short on that today.”
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