Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says his squad need to ‘bounce back’ at home to Stevenage on Saturday following tonight’s 3-1 loss at Port Vale.
The Stags have lost the last two matches, having remained undefeated for 14 league matches prior.
Speaking to the media post-match, the gaffer said: “I thought at 1-1 we were very much in the game [tonight].
“I thought we were having the better of it [the game’s key moments].
“We missed a great chance with George Lapslie to go 2-1 up.
“In the first-half, Nathan Bishop makes a very, very rare mistake [for Port Vale’s first goal], that lets them back in.
“We were under the cosh a little bit, late on in the first-half and early on in the second-half.
“We put Hawks [Oli Hawkins] up front, we took the initiative and if we get that second goal you never know what happens.
“I don’t think things are particularly going for us. We’re not playing fantastic but certainly [for] spells in the game we were good enough tonight.
“We [must] bounce back and we start again on Saturday, that’s all we can do.
“We’ve got to win on Saturday.
“It’s lovely to be back at home on Saturday, [we’re] looking forward to it.”
The gaffer hopes that the last two results are just a ‘dip’ and that Mansfield can go on another unbeaten run between now and the end of the season.
“They’ve [the players] got to clear their heads in the next two days and get ready for the weekend,” he said.
“We’ll try and break the record and get 11 consecutive home wins.
“I hope we’re [just] having a dip.
“We had 14 games to go, we lost a couple now on the road at two of our promotion-challenging rivals.
“I hope that’s out the way now and we’re going to do our best to go unbeaten in the last 12.”
Forward Rhys Oates bagged his tenth goal in all competitions this evening with an expertly taken opener.
“They play three centre-halves, so it was just [a case of] getting him [Oates] with his pace [at them] and exposing it [the backline].
“Kieran Wallace played a good through ball and we get the 1-0 lead.
“I thought we were pretty comfortable after that until the goalkeeping error.”
Midfielder, Kieran Wallace made his first start for the Stags this evening. The midfielder’s impressive performance highlighted the importance all members of the squad will have between now and May.
“I thought Kieran Wallace played well tonight,” said Nigel.
“I thought he did really well, I’m pleased with his performance.
“We said with the run of games that we’re having; people have to come in and they’ve got to be ready to come in for the odd game.
“Danny Johnson wasn’t in the 18 on Saturday, [he] got on the pitch tonight.
“The whole squad is going to play a part.”
The boss provided an update on the injury latest when asked what he believes led to tonight’s loss.
“Losing Matty Longstaff [due to injury] who’s got three [goals] in three [games] for us.
“Losing Quinny, losing Lucas Akins, and the only other change; we decided to give Elliott Hewitt a breather tonight.
“I think he’s [Hewitt] played almost every game and needs a rest.
“It was a combination of things.
“The tackle early on in the [Tranmere] game [injured Quinn].”
Watch the manager's interview in full now by clicking here.