Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough gave his assessment of the Stags’ 3-2 loss to Sutton United at One Call Stadium.
The result ended Mansfield’s record-breaking run of 11 straight home league victories.
However, the Stags remain inside the Sky Bet League Two play-off places.
“We said all week ‘do not go 1-0 down against this team’,” Clough told the local media. “So, I think to go 1-0 down in the circumstances that we did, set the game off and it was a result defining moment.
“It is exactly what we said would happen if you give them a goal. It gives them a massive lift, [it] gives them confidence. It gives them more importantly, something to hang on to, which they did very well [at]. They’re that sort of team.
“They [Sutton] scored after a few minutes when we played them away and we struggled to break them down.
“We’re going to lose games but to lose it in the manner that we did [today] is the most disappointing thing, contributing to it ourselves.”
The manager felt that the timing of the goals was significant in the result.
“The timing of the goals was very poor,” he said. “Just when you want to get a foothold in the game and try to build a bit of momentum in the second half, within two or three minutes we’re 2-0 down. It’s very difficult to come back from there.
“We looked a little bit disjointed, with injuries catching us up. [We] especially missed McLaughlin’s driving force at left back. Perchy did well but he’s a different sort of full back. We missed a little bit of creativity at times today.”
On what he hopes to see from his side at Brunton Park, Clough said: “Don’t give schoolboy goals away like we did today, that’s first and foremost.”
“We haven’t done that in recent weeks, teams have had to work very hard to create chances and goals against us.
“We hadn’t had them [errors] in the run [which saw 11 consecutive home wins] and that’s why we have had such an incredible run here at the One Call [Stadium].
“We’ve got to move on, when you make a mistake as Rawson did [today] you have to put it behind you.
“You see teams who are up around us getting 1-0 [wins] today and keeping clean sheets, that should be our priority [at Carlisle].”
The manager gave an update on Stags’ injury list.
“[Monday is] possibly too soon [for Stephen McLaughlin],” he said.
“We didn’t want to risk Jamie Murphy [today] either, he’s done half a training session coming back from a hamstring [injury].
“We’re conscious that these sorts of injuries with Macca and Jamie Murphy, if they ‘go’ then we’re missing them for the next month, six weeks or whatever we’ve got remaining of the season.
“Despite there only being five games of the season to go, we’ve still got to be careful with them.”
On striker Rhys Oates, Clough said: “[He’s] probably too soon [for] Monday but we hope to get him back on the grass this week and do some training.
“I think when you’re missing these sorts of players, and ‘Laps’ [George Lapslie] who’ll get you a goal, sometimes you’ll get away with it, but other times like today it shows up.”
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