Mansfield Town defender John-Joe O’Toole hailed his teammates’ work rate after Stags advanced into round two of the Emirates FA Cup with a brilliant 1-0 win at Sunderland.
The former Northampton Town man started for the first time since joining the club a fortnight ago, having made a substitute appearance against Tranmere Rovers last Saturday.
The 33-year-old partnered Oli Hawkins in the heart of Mansfield’s defence to seal out Sunderland’s attacking threat.
The new signing was complimentary of how his teammates worked together to overcome the higher league opposition.
“It was a brilliant team performance from all of the lads,” O’Toole said. “Everyone gave it their all.
“We probably would’ve preferred to have had more of the more ball. Sometimes you come to places like this [against higher league opposition] and you have to withstand a bit of pressure.
“We felt quite comfortable for the majority of it and we nullified them in the areas we needed to.
“We got our noses in front and [we] probably could have got another one. Once [we] scored [we] had something to hold on to.
“We were a good unit today.”
The game against Sunderland was O’Toole’s first start for a club in over six months.
On his return to football having been released in the summer, O’Toole said: “It’s been a hard time for myself.
“Obviously [I’ve] been out of contract from Burton last year and it’s been hard. It’s the first time that I’ve been in that position [looking for a new club].
“When I got the call to come down to Mansfield, I was delighted to get [the] opportunity to play again for Cloughy [Nigel Clough] and [it is] a chance to progress my career a bit more.”
View the defender’s interview in full later today via: www.mansfieldtown.net/iFollow .