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Players adapted well to new formation - boss

27 November 2021

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough was ‘pleased’ at how his players adapted to a new formation in the excellent 2-1 victory away at Crawley Town.

The Stags’ boss deployed a 3-5-2 system, making four changes to the team that lost 2-0 at Sutton United in midweek.

The manager felt the result at The People’s Pension stadium has got his team ‘back on track’.

“[I am] Very, very pleased. We changed things up a bit today,” he said.

“I thought it [the formation change] was justified after the performance on Tuesday night.

“It was good to get the sixth win out of the last seven games and get us back on track.”

The change in system saw Oli Hawkins return to his more natural position of striker, having played as a centre-back in previous weeks.

The forward formed a two-man strike partnership with the returning Rhys Oates, the pair scored both Stags’ goals.

“Oli Hawkins, we shoved him back up front today and he’s got one and made one.

“[On Rhys Oates] I thought his pace caused them problems all afternoon. With the ball holding up [in the wind] he got on the end of one and tucked it away. Lovely.

“We’ve missed him when he’s been out. It’s no surprise that we don’t score in midweek [but] we got two down at Stevenage when he was in the team and we got two today.

“He chases lost causes. Defenders hate that sort of thing. They [defenders] can never relax when he’s around.”

The decision to play a three-man defensive line was one that the manager took his time on when picking the side for the game at Crawley.

“This was probably one of the hardest teams we’ve picked in the last 12 months or so,” he said.

“We had lots of options and different formations in our mind.

“We thought let’s try three at the back today. Let’s give it a go. It was justified today. We tried to freshen it up and create more chances.

“We hadn’t really worked on it [the new formation]. We went to [a back three] for the last ten minutes against Sutton the other night and we looked okay.

“Everybody acquitted themselves [correctly] and that’s why we got the win.”

The Stags’ supporters will be in high spirits after seeing the formation change come to fruition this afternoon.

The boss thanked the fans for their continued support at the two long distance away trips to Sutton and Crawley this week.

“It was great for Oatesy [Rhys Oates] to get the winner in front of them [the supporters].

“We are so appreciative of every single one of them that makes these journeys.”


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