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Manager: We’re ‘determined’ to keep this run going

11 December 2021

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough insists his team are ‘determined’ to maintain their excellent run after acquiring nine victories from ten games.

The Stags cemented their position in the top half of Sky Bet League Two with a 2-1 home victory against Salford City this afternoon.

The win is Mansfield’s fifth successive win at One Call Stadium.

“There’s a momentum, a desire and a determination to keep this run going as much as we can,” the gaffer said.

“It is an outstanding performance and result again [especially] off the back of Tuesday night [against Carlisle] and the cup victory at Doncaster.

“For pretty much the same lads [that played in those two recent matches] to put the same amount of effort in today [is fantastic].”

Despite an encouraging overall performance and result, the Stags went behind early on. The boss admitted his side shaped up the wrong formation in the opening exchanges.

“We picked the wrong formation [in the first 20 minutes]. We didn’t think they would play a three [at the back] today but they did, so we started with that [3-4-2-1] formation.

“It [the original formation] wasn’t working so we changed it as soon as we could. [After the tactical change] We settled down and we looked much better from that point.”

 

The tide soon changed for the Stags and after scoring two goals in eight minutes before half-time the manager admired the way his side played after the restart.

“I thought for [the first] 15-20 minutes [in the second-half] we were very good indeed. As well as we’ve played [this season].

“If we got that third goal then I think we would have won the game possibly more comfortably.

“Some of the stuff we played; the one-twos around the box [were exceptional].

“Jordan Bowery linking up with Elliott Hewitt and George Lapslie’s one-twos in and around the penalty area… the football for that first 15-20 minutes was brilliant,” said the manager.

Whilst pushing for the important third goal to kill the game off, the Stags ensured they remained resolute at the back, something the manager deemed just as important post-match.

“It [the ability to see out results] is getting better each week. To restrict Salford to one long range shot from 25-yards straight into Nathan Bishop’s hands in 49 minutes [was pleasing].

“We were organised, we closed down all over the pitch. A third goal would’ve been lovely, a second goal would’ve been [lovely] against Carlisle but sometimes you don’t need them.

“It [ensuring leads remain intact] is absolutely vital. We don’t win many games by more than one goal. We did against Tranmere and Scunthorpe here but not in too many [matches].

“[Fixtures in Sky Bet League Two] Are going to be tight so we have to see games out, not in a negative way as we’re always trying to score.”

Forward Rhys Oates returned to lead the line for Mansfield after missing the Carlisle win through injury. The boss singled out the scorer of the Stags’ second for his work rate.


“Defenders are very wary when he’s on the pitch because they know they haven’t got a second [to think].

“Even when he charges goalkeepers down and things like that [he’s a threat].

“If he does that for 80 minutes and then has to come off then that’s absolutely fine.”

The recent run of nine wins in ten has boosted the Stags’ morale and league position ahead of next weekend’s fixture at league-leaders Forest Green Rovers.

“We go into it in good spirits, [with] nine [wins] out of ten [games],” said the manager.

“I think it is absolutely incredible where we’ve come from to win nine out of ten.

“No draws. To actually win nine games is extremely difficult to do.

“An incredible amount of credit goes to the fans, they know the players are giving absolutely everything.”

When asked about John-Joe OToole’s absence, the manager said: “He might have this flu [that is going around], we’re not sure. We do all the tests; we’ll see how he is for next weekend [against Forest Green].

“[On Ollie Clarke] It’s still his calf. He felt it in the cup game and when he came off. He tried to do a bit of training yesterday morning but it was too sore, he has a chance [to play] next week.

Meanwhile, Will Forrester is expected to be out for four to six weeks with an ankle injury.


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