Stags’ boss David Flitcroft says he is ‘proud’ of the ‘resilience’ and ‘commitment’ shown by his charges during the season so far, following today’s 3-1 victory over Macclesfield Town.
The sides went into half-time of today’s match with a goal-apiece, after Jorge Grant’s early effort was cancelled out by Callum Evans.
Mansfield emerged as the better side in the second period, and goals from Tyler Walker and Krystian Pearce wrapped up the points.
The manager was pleased by the improved second-half showing.
“For 20 minutes [in the first-half] we played our brand of football and moved the ball quite well,” he said. “We scored an early goal, but then took our foot off the gas.
“We over-indulged. I keep saying to them, make sure that you hurt teams – and for 20 minutes, they did.
“We hurt them second-half. They started to tire and we asked more questions of them. We passed it forward with more urgency and we ran more.
“The turning point in the game is the [Jordan Smith] save at 1-1. It was a fantastic save. Jordan’s raced off his line and made a brilliant save.
“We’ve lost two games at home and one game away. There’s a reason for that – the team has a lot of quality in it.
“But what we have shown all season is resilience and a commitment to each other and the supporters. That’s something that I’m very proud of.
“There was a willingness to go and take the game. It’s so important and it means so much to them.”
"What we have shown all season is resilience and a commitment to each other and the supporters. That’s something that I’m very proud of."
Walker’s late strike against the Silkmen put him on 20 goals for the season, and the manager put the impressive feat down to the forward’s ‘ability and energy.’
“The challenge I’ve spoken to him [Walker] about is 30 goals, which is something that not many strikers reach.
“He certainly has the ability and the energy to do it. He’s been brilliant. As teams get tired, he comes alive and he anticipates.
“He’s hungry for goals. He’s got that anticipating factor that he’s scored again from.”
It was announced after full-time that the Stags have added to their ranks with the acquisition of experienced defender Ben Turner, a signing that David Flitcroft says will add ‘substance’ and ‘steel’ to the dressing room.
The manager also reflected on the January transfer window as a whole.
“We’ve assessed Mirf [David Mirfin] now over three or four reserve games, and he’s still short for what we’re trying to achieve – the games are getting bigger.
“The big one for me is losing Hayden White. With Sweens [Ryan Sweeney] on nine bookings, Matty Preston on eight bookings, it was important that we got cover for that position.
“Ben has promotion on his CV and he’s a good player to have in the dressing room. We’re a team full of energy – and we’re adding a bit of steel and substance to the dressing room.
“I’m delighted with the capture. It may be ten days until we can use him as we picked up on the medical that he came off against Man City [for Burton] – but we’ll nurse him through that slight calf injury that he’s got.
“I always look at a long-term plan and a long-term vision. I want players that are going to listen and want to learn.
“Youth brings hunger, but so does the right character. Getting Neal Bishop in with his hunger, his desire, is something that drives me as a manager.
“We’ve had to clean this up, but it took two windows. Calum Butcher has been brilliant for me this season, but I saw the last six weeks, when he wanted desperately to play. I wish him all the success he deserves.
“It was important that we got the players in first. We have good quality here, but more importantly, I have good people.
“I believe in people coming to Mansfield for the right reasons – for football reasons, for success reasons. People that want to come and fight for us.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.