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Stags overcame Walsall ‘hurdle’ - says manager

15 January 2022

Club News

Stags overcame Walsall ‘hurdle’ - says manager

15 January 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough believes his side overcame a ‘hurdle’ after beating ‘experienced’ Walsall 2-0 at One Call Stadium this afternoon.

The resilient display ensured the Stags recorded a ninth win in ten league games.

The boss believes the victory carries extra significance as Mansfield climb into the play-off positions.

“I felt it was more important [than the Swindon  victory],” said the Stags' boss.

“They’re a good, experienced team.

“We knew they’d cause us problems today.

“It was lovely to get over that hurdle.”

The win came courtesy of two fine finishes from substitute Harry Charsley.

“It [the substitution] was enforced unfortunately. Ollie Clarke was feeling his hamstring but you can’t have much more of an impact [than Charsley’s].

“We had a little dig on Tuesday night that the subs that came on weren’t quite at the speed of the game.

“I said to him to come on and win the game.

“That’s the sort of impact you want your substitutes to have. That just proves, you pick the eleven but it’s not always about [just] the eleven,” the manager said.

The Stags’ chief believes the weather played a part in slowing down the tempo of the game.

“It was a difficult pitch today. It was a completely different game to the other night,” said the gaffer.

“It was a little bit tricky the pitch, in terms of getting the ball down and playing fluid football and Walsall are an unbelievably honest side who came to stop us playing.

“[Walsall] Also came to be a threat like they were at their place with the lad on the break [George Miller] and he caused us problems all game.”

The boss was keen to highlight the importance of midfielder George Maris’ display in keeping the score level prior to the Stags taking the lead.

“I said to them at half-time 'just don’t concede today' and I thought the turning point in the game wasn’t the first goal [but] it was a few minutes before that when George Maris kept one out on the line.

“It [Maris’ heroic block] typifies the spirit [in the squad] and the teamwork [in the dressing room].

“He’s back in there as a midfielder, it hit him in the face and he’s keeping it out the goal.

“Two or three minutes later,[we get a] a long throw and we get the break from it and we’re 1-0 up.”

The boss was pleased to see his side their first victory with a two-goal deficit since the 3-1 win at home to Scunthorpe in November.

“It’s lovely to go and get that second one, even with two minutes to go,” he said.

“To go and get that second one so that we’re not hanging on [was great to see] because usually we have one-goal games.

“It’s much nicer when you get that cushion.”

The manager provided an update on the absence of Ryan Stirk from the squad and the injuries to fellow midfielders Ollie Clarke and George Lapslie.

“He [Stirk] tested positive after the game on Tuesday night, on Wednesday, I think.

“He should be [available for Forest Green in midweek]. If he gets a couple of negatives [tests then he’ll be] available for Tuesday.

“His [Ollie Clarke’s] hamstring just tightened up so we’ll see how he is over the weekend, but I’d think he would be a doubt [for Forest Green].

“George Lapslie’s not too far away and if we can get Ryan Stirk back involved as well that will cover us more in midfield.”

On the ongoing contract talks with defender John-Joe O’Toole, the boss issued an update.

“We’ve got a deadline of Monday,” the gaffer revealed.

“One way or another we’ll get an announcement out on Monday.”

Watch the manager's interview in full by clicking here.

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