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Improvement needed from set plays - boss

7 September 2021

Manager Nigel Clough says the ‘good things’ in Stags’ performances are being ‘overshadowed’ by his side not ‘dealing with set plays.’

The boss’ comments follow Saturday’s disappointing 3-1 defeat at home to Harrogate Town, in which Stags’ visitors found the net on three occasions from set piece situations.

Nigel Clough says that, despite the disappointment of the last three league games, his side are still ‘playing well and creating chances.’

“All the good things we’re doing are overshadowed at the moment by our defending from set plays,” he told iFollow Stags. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what we need to improve upon.

“Despite working on them [defending set plays], it’s very much an individual thing in a team; you have to do your job from set plays. It’s a collective after that, and we’re not doing either at the moment, which is costing us points.

“We’ll keep working on it and stressing to them [players] the importance [of set plays]. Then obviously you have to change individuals if they’re not doing their jobs.


“There are so many good things within the performances, and we’re just not dealing with the corners and set plays that are coming in.

“We’re playing well and creating chances. [With] balls in the box, final third entries, all things like that, we’re well up there [in the standings]. It’s just dealing with these set plays that we have to do better.

“We want to keep doing all of those good things that we’re doing. It’s not as if we’re being cut to ribbons because we’re exposed at the back. We’re just causing ourselves problems.”

Ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two fixture away to Walsall, the boss drew parallels between the two sides following an influx of new players over the summer.

Nigel Clough also stressed the importance of emphasising the ‘good things’ and highlighting ‘what is costing us’ ahead of the trip to the Banks’s Stadium.

“It’s going to take time for everyone to settle in [at Walsall]. We did that [summer overhaul] to a certain degree as well. Things take time to gel.


“All teams that have brought a lot of players in, sometimes it will look good for a few games then might be a bit disjointed.

“I think that’s probably where we are and where Walsall are at the moment.

“Even when we’re not winning games, we have to get draws and try to see the points board ticking along and keep the confidence going. It’s defeats that crush confidence.

“It’s very important that we put everything into perspective, emphasise the good things we’re doing and highlight what is costing us games [ahead of Saturday].”

The manager also provided the latest team news, which includes the suspensions to midfielders Ollie Clarke and Stephen Quinn following their red cards on Saturday.


“We considered appealing Ollie Clarke’s [red card], as we thought it was a little harsh. But it’s very difficult to overturn decisions.

“I think Ollie Clarke may only be [out for] one [game] and Stephen Quinn will be three [games], but we’ll await confirmation on that.

“We have players who featured for the under-23s [against Sunderland] last night who got a game under their belt. With two players suspended, it gives a great opportunity for another couple of people to come in.

“He [James Perch] will still be out. There’s no timescale on that just yet. He’s seeing another specialist next week and we’ll know more after that.”

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