Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough left his hometown a happy man as the Stags’ chief celebrated one year in charge with victory at Sunderland.
The boss took over at One Call Stadium a year ago today and marked his first 12 months by overseeing a masterful 1-0 win which sees Stags advance into the second round of the Emirates FA Cup.
A Rhys Oates’ goal in the first-half ensured a 1-0 triumph at The Stadium of Light for the second successive season.
Speaking to iFollow Stags, the boss spoke highly about his team’s discipline to cement the victory, after taking an early lead.
He said: “I think the organisation and the shape of the team restricted a very good side to just a handful of opportunities.
“You’re always going to have a few scares but if you’re organised enough and enough of a threat on the break [you have a great chance of winning the game]."
The manager felt that the Stags were unlucky not to extend their lead further in the first-half.
“Harry Charlsey could’ve had one, Lapslie could’ve had one and I think we could’ve had a penalty shout on Harry as well.
“Everyone put a shift in today and that’s when you get your rewards. [We’ve had] Two clean sheets on the spin in two matches, it’s brilliant for [our] confidence.”
Over 1,300 Mansfield supporters were present at The Stadium of Light and the Stags’ boss was thankful for their backing.
“The supporters today were absolutely incredible.
“We heard them from the first minute until about ten minutes after the game. When you’re up against it [pressure from Sunderland] and you’re on your knees, that keeps you going as a player. It spurs you on.”
Speaking about match-winner Rhys Oates, the manager said: “We’ve seen the best of him in the last couple of games. We were so keen to get him in the summer [transfer window].
“If you’re a centre half you wouldn’t want to play against him. As a pair or on his own – we know he’s a menace.
“From the press [led by Oates] we nicked one [goal] and he’s tucked it away with a very, very good finish.
“Now he’s got a couple of goals and an assist in the last two games so he is full of confidence.”
On the team’s overall display, he said: “We’ve had a good week’s training again. A brilliant week’s training. We knew it was the sort of game where we were going to have to put a shift in and restrict them [Sunderland].
“Especially first-half I think we frustrated them. We shut down a lot of avenues that usually they would use to go forward.
“We felt great pride when we got a 1-0 [win against Sunderland] last year and in some ways I thought it was a better performance today.“
You can watch the manager's interview in full now on iFollow Stags at: https://www.mansfieldtown.net/ifollow/.