Manager Graham Coughlan says the ‘hard work’ being put in on the training ground by his players leads to him being ‘confident’ that the Stags can turn their form around.
The boss’ comments follow a positive performance away at Plymouth Argyle, where a lack of a clinical edge in front of goal was the difference between the two sides.
Despite recent results, the former Bristol Rovers’ chief has expressed his ‘confidence’ in his players, as their statistics are going ‘through the roof’ in training.
“We obviously want to work on the clean sheets,” he began. “Offensively, we’re very strong. We work a lot on transitions.
“The amount of chances we’re creating in each game must be double figures. We just need to find that conviction and killer instinct in front of goal, and that continuity and consistency in front of our own goal.
“What has happened between boxes has been really pleasing on the eye and we are creating, but it’s just that confidence and continuity to put the ball in the back of the net.
“The lads are looking better and lasting longer in games – their mileage and numbers are going through the roof, to be quite honest.
“They have worked hard and bought into everything we’ve asked of them. Apart from results, it’s been enjoyable.
“I’m a bad loser and I like winning games of football – that’s what I’m employed for. But I’ve been in the game for a long time and I’m confident that this [form] will turn.
“I have every confidence in the lads and the process that we’ve put in place. When it turns, we’ll go on a good little run.
“I’m a big believer in ‘you train as you play, play as you train.’ It all goes hand-in-hand. You have to put in the hours Monday to Friday and have the desire in your training sessions.
“We’re trying to change the mentality and the thought process, which is not easy, but we’ll get there.”
The manager also spoke of his side’s ‘targets,’ with the short-term aim to reach 50 points for the season.
“You want to get to 50 points and reset. When you get to 50 points you can reset your goals and targets,” added the boss.
“You’re always chasing targets and our first one this season is the 50-point mark. When we get to that, we’ll realign the goals and set new targets.
“We are where we are for a reason – we’re not scoring enough goals or keeping enough clean sheets.
“I’m confident that we will finish the season strongly and turn our season around. Yes, we are going through a tough time, but we will change it and we will get there.”
Looking back on the positive display at Plymouth, the manager says that ‘small margins’ separated the sides in the 3-1 defeat.
“I thought we were excellent on Saturday. I thought we executed the game plan perfectly in the first-half apart from the free-kick.
“They are the small margins that are going against us, but we’re really hopeful that lady luck will shine upon us at some stage.
“There is very little you can do but keep working and keep a smile on your face. At this moment in time, the performances have been really pleasing. The only things that are not going in our favour are clean sheets and the results.”
Mansfield welcome high-flyers Bradford City to One Call Stadium on Saturday, and the boss says he would take ‘any sort of win,’ but a clean sheet would give a ‘foundation’ to build upon.
“I’d settle for an ugly 1-0 win. We’ve been playing really well and are very nice to watch offensively.
“But I would settle for that ugly 1-0 win. That clean sheet has to come along at some stage because the lads are working hard enough towards it.
“I would take any win but if we can stick a clean sheet in there as well, it would be a good foundation to build upon.”
As we enter the final furlong of the January transfer window, the manager spoke of possible incomings and outgoings, alongside a few comments on latest signing Harry Charsley (below), who made his debut against Plymouth on Saturday.
“The market is active – it doesn’t really hot up until the last week or two, and we’re entering that period now.
“We have a couple of irons in the fire and there are one or two clubs interested in our players as well.
“Harry [Charsley] is a nice footballer. He’s from a good stock because Everton do it right. He’s neat, he’s tidy and has good legs and energy.
“He’ll fit right into the work ethic that we want to instil in the changing room. He’s fresh and has none of the scars that our lads have possibly been carrying over the last 12 months.
“He’s fresh in the building and should breathe a bit of life into the changing room.”
There was also an injury update on the quartet of Hayden White, Danny Rose, Willem Tomlinson and Kellan Gordon from the boss.
“We’ve had some good news [on White and Rose]. Both players are not too serious. Fingers crossed we should see one, if not two, on the training ground this week.
“Hopefully they’ll be available for selection on Saturday – if it’s not this Saturday, it’ll be the following Saturday.
“I expect him [Tomlinson] to train this week. He’s done all his tests, so I expect him to train.
“Kellan is a bit longer – he’s had a little bit of a setback, which has been a bit of a blow for the lad. But he’ll be a bit longer.”
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