Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has delivered his post-match thoughts following this afternoon’s defeat to MK Dons.
Despite Mansfield being on top for large portions of the second-half, it was David Wheeler’s second-minute header that earned the Dons victory at Stadium MK.
The manager says he is ‘hurting’ for the supporters and his players.
“I’m hurting. I’m hurting for our supporters,” he said. “They turned up, not just in numbers, but in voice and volume.
“The stadium was almost set up to break our supporters apart with the segregation behind the goal. They were loud and proud for Mansfield, and I’m hurting for them.
“I’m hurting for my players. In the second-half, when we turned the screw, MK Dons stood firm but they were creaking.
“In the second-half, the players left everything out there and that’s what we’ll be taking out of this game going into the next challenge.
“Ten minutes after the game, it’s raw. Congratulations to MK, they’ve had a phenomenal season and have been up there all season.
“It’s a difficult one seeing the other group of supporters celebrate, but they’ve had a good season like we have.
“We have to regroup, refocus and prepare ourselves for another massive game on Thursday. It’s a quick turnaround.”
"I’m hurting. I’m hurting for our supporters. They turned up, not just in numbers, but in voice and volume."
The Mansfield boss says that the squad will use today’s experience to galvanise them for Thursday evening’s play-off encounter against Newport County.
“This experience, I certainly never want to feel like this again, and that’s what I’ve told to the players.
“We need to soak it in, understand why we got beat, and understand how you’re feeling straight after the game.
“But we can’t let it haunt us. Let it be the thing that frees you into striving for a performance next week.
“I have good staff around me. We’ll be in tomorrow for our end of season do, and the players will be in.
“We’ll do it as a group. We have to regroup and we’ll start picking players up tonight. We won’t be haunted by what’s happened today.
“[The players are] hurt. It’s a tough one. We’ve had a cause all season that we’re doing it for our families, and we feel like we’ve let them down. That’s how raw it is.
“We failed at this hurdle. And now we have to make sure that what comes out of this is a galvanised spirit.”
David Flitcroft described the quick turnaround of the Sky Bet League Two play-offs as an opportunity to swiftly put Stags’ ‘disappointment’ behind them.
“There was a tension to us in the first-half, because in the second-half when we took the handbrake off and went for the jugular, we looked like a team with intent.
“We were calmer in possession and we were asking questions of MK. That’s what I’ve got to draw from the game and that’s what we have to pick out and take into Thursday’s performance.
“You don’t have ten days until the next game. You have a four-day turnaround to get ready for the next game.
“We’ll travel down on Wednesday, so it’s going to come thick and fast. In football, you get the chance to get over those disappointments, because it comes round pretty quick.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.