Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has said that the upcoming week will consist of preparing his players to deliver ‘one massive final effort’ in next Saturday’s crucial match away to MK Dons.
Mansfield welcomed Stevenage to One Call Stadium this afternoon, and despite pulling the score back to 1-1 through Tyler Walker’s neat finish in the 83rd-minute, were shocked by Ilias Chair’s stoppage-time winner.
The manager emphasised the need for a good reaction throughout next week ahead of the amber and blue’s big game away to automatic promotion rivals MK Dons.
“I want to see an enthusiasm and a love for football [in training this week],” he said. “I want to see competition, I want to see full commitment. I’ll emphasise that all week.
“I don’t have to tell the lads how big this game is or what this game means to everyone concerned.
“They know that, and if they don’t, they’re in the wrong place. It just comes down to a group of players who are totally focused on delivering one final massive effort.
“We’ve had ten minutes after the game. The lads will get a day off tomorrow. It’s a reflection day.
“When we come in on Monday, we’ll outline the plan and what they need to do in the week. That’s what we will be doing.
“I can’t control what they do tonight and tomorrow in terms of how they think. But I can affect that in the week.
“In life, you have things that go against you, and you then have a choice – you either stay in bed and roll up in a ball, or you come bouncing out and start fighting again.
“I want a squad fighting next week, all week. Fighting to get into the starting 11 and then really making an impact on the game.”
"It just comes down to a group of players who are totally focused on delivering one final massive effort."
The manager added that today’s result is a ‘missed opportunity.’
“Without a doubt [it’s a missed opportunity]. It was an opportunity that we had to take. At half-time, I was really happy under difficult circumstances with the wind.
“It was important that we came in [at half-time] with a clean sheet. At half-time, I said it’s a case of really turning the heat up.
“Rosey [Danny Rose] had a couple of good opportunities on his head. Jorge Grant got loose and had to do better. We had corner after corner.
“We probably didn’t test the ‘keeper as much as what I’d want. We’d got through the tough stage which was in the first-half.
“I think we stepped on the gas in the second-half but we just didn’t finish them off. After we got 1-1, the fans, it was like we were going to do it.
“The second goal just takes that energy out of you. You could see the players lying down [after the game].”
The amber and blues’ chief explained that although today’s defeat to Stevenage ‘hurts,’ he is urging his players to ‘move forward.’
“At 1-0 down, the fightback is there again,” added the manager. “Tyler scored a great goal – he finished it brilliantly. We went chasing that [winner] and got done on the counter.
“It’s raw at the minute and it hurts. Out of that hurt, I will make sure that the group have a resolve and understand why we’ve not won today.
“We’ve not got the win that we were desperate for, but it’s about now how I react and lead this group this week.
“The lads have had a right effort. They showed commitment, passion and tried. Next week, we have to be better in every aspect of our game.
“What I say to the players is ‘think forward.’ We had that chance today, and we haven’t taken it, so let’s move forward this week.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.