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Stags showed ‘desire’ to net late winner

15 January 2019

Stags’ boss David Flitcroft says that the late winner against Crawley Town epitomises the ‘desire’ and ‘willingness to win’ of his charges.

Mansfield were forced to wait until the 88th minute for their match-winning goal – courtesy of frontman Tyler Walker – despite being on top for the majority of the contest.

The manager picked out the patience of his players as one of the main positives of tonight’s display.

“The good thing for us today is we stayed patient,” he said. “We have a lot of quality on the pitch. We deserved to get the points and the lads fought so hard for it.

“The one they [Crawley] had on the counter, the save from Jordan [Smith] is outstanding.

“There was a spell between 20 and 35 minutes, when we just took the game to them. I felt we had to score in that moment and put that nail in the coffin early doors.

“I was really happy with the first half performance. It was tidy and there was care in our work. But to get the late winner shows you the desire and fitness of the players, and the willingness to win.”

The Stags’ chief also discussed the relationship of Walker and new loan signing Jorge Grant, while also touching on the debut of new striker Nicky Ajose.

“He [Walker] stays alert,” he added. “You can see what it means to him scoring goals for Mansfield Town and our supporters.

“Him and Jorge [Grant] are best pals. He came with him when we got Tyler and I tried to get Jorge in then.

“If Tyler hadn’t enjoyed the experience so much and really thrived here, I don’t think we’d have got Jorge.

“We’re a good draw for any new signing. We’re a good football club and we’re brilliantly run, with some unbelievable supporters.

"To get the late winner shows you the desire and fitness of the players, and the willingness to win.”

David Flitcroft, manager

“I love watching him [Jorge] and his movement. I love the way he moves on the ball. He’s bright and intuitive on the pitch.

“We switched to a 4-4-2 late on, and you can see him putting a shift in down the right-hand side. That’s why he’ll do brilliantly in the game.

“When you work with him, you see the quality. When you bring in that sort of quality, it lifts everyone else as well.

“Nicky Ajose, his goals speak for themselves. That chance that he had, I expected the net to bulge. But he won’t go hiding. Good goalscorers keep getting chances because missing doesn’t hurt them.”

The gaffer previewed Stags’ next clash in Sky Bet League Two, a trip to face in-form Colchester United on Saturday.

“They [Colchester] have a fantastic business model. It’s one that I looked very closely at when I was at Bury, with the way they bring the academy players and work with players.

“They have a top manager who knows his way around the game. When you get that young energy with players wanting to learn, Colchester’s success has been built off that.

“They have a thriving academy that gives youth a chance and they have a clear pathway. They’ve had a really positive season, but so have we, so it’ll be a clash of two good playing styles.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into later today.

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