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Stags needed killer 'punch,' says boss

12 January 2019

Mansfield were without a killer ‘punch’ in this afternoon’s rare home loss against Yeovil Town, manager David Flitcroft has said.

Glovers’ forward Jordan Green scored the game’s only goal in the first half of a clash that the Stags ended with ten men, following defender Matt Preston’s late sending off.

The manager says that his charges lacked a cutting edge in their performance.

“We lost too many individual battles first half,” he said. “Yeovil have come and pressed us, and once you get past the initial press, it becomes a football fight.

“Yeovil won a higher percentage of balls and dominated us in that [midfield] area of the pitch. It was a really disappointing first half for us.

“We weren’t careful or clinical enough in our play. You have to make sure that you’re executing, and we didn’t.

“Second half we’ve come out, and when you wear the key numbers on your back and you’re a striker, you have to make sure in the key moments that you’re executing.

“It’s not unlucky that we’re hitting someone’s back or missing the target. It’s a lack of responsibility in key moments.

“Mal Benning played with high level of courage today and wanted the ball. That’s the courage and boldness that I want from a team when we’re 1-0 down.

“You’re not always going to make things happen, but [you need to] have that effort and energy to go and try and make something happen.

“I do believe that’s a mindset, never giving up and understanding that you’re in a football match. We didn’t display those qualities, certainly in the first half – there was no real punch to anything we did in that last third.”

The manager called on his players to be courageous in the ‘business end’ of the season, likening reaching January to getting to ‘base camp’ on Mount Everest.

“He [Nathan Baxter, Yeovil goalkeeper] has done well,” added the boss. “But you have to make him work harder when you come up against a wall.

“I do believe that’s a mindset, never giving up and understanding that you’re in a football match. We didn’t display those qualities, certainly in the first half – there was no real punch to anything we did in that last third.”

David Flitcroft, manager

“There are times where it becomes about precision and placement, and make sure you are missing the ‘keeper out.

“We didn’t do that enough. Our crossing wasn’t on point and with shots from the edge of the box, [it] was just a nearly performance.

“You can’t wait for someone else to take the baton. You have to do it yourself in that moment. Those are the performers that will stand out in the business end of the season.

“When you’re climbing Everest, you have to climb to base camp. January is base camp. January is where you get there, assess the mountain, and start climbing it.

“It’s certainly a massive effort where you have to get the details right at this stage of the season. We have to get players out there that enjoy being in those match-winning moments.”

The gaffer added that he was disappointed for the Mansfield faithful following today’s narrow defeat, while also touching on debutant goalkeeper Jordan Smith’s first outing for the amber and blue.

“It [Jordan Smith debut] was okay [considering] he only came in yesterday. We can get on the training ground and do more work.

“It’s really difficult to gage because the conditions didn’t allow us to play it out first half, with the wind swirling down the pitch.

“We’ll look to do something different then, because we have to come up with the answers. I’m desperate to get working with this team Monday and come up with the answers.

“I feel disappointed for the supporters today. They stuck with it and really tried to get us back in the game.

“We didn’t do them justice today. They show courage week-in, week-out, and we have to make sure we show that courage to keep trying to break teams down.”

Lastly, the manager provided an update on the club’s current position in the January transfer window.

“We’ve been very busy speaking to players and speaking to agents,” he explained. “We’ve had two or three weeks now, trying to get things over the line.

“Everyone is assessing their squads and waiting for someone to move. We’ve made sure to locate the right targets, but getting them over the line is always a bit more difficult.

“Once you’ve located a target and sold the club and the project, which we have done, it’s then just a case of waiting and getting it over the line.”

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


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