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Boss on disappointing Harrogate loss

19 November 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has had his say on this afternoon’s 3-0 loss away at Harrogate Town.

The Stags conceded all three goals inside the first-half at EnviroVent Stadium.

 

The result sees the gaffer’s side move to eighth in Sky Bet League Two.

 

Speaking to iFollow Stags post-match, Nigel said: “After three minutes we conceded on the break.

 

“We’ve been emphasising to the players all week [that] one of Harrogate’s main strengths and threats is on the break.

 

“We have a free-kick in a good position ourselves, looking to get a goal, and less than ten seconds later the ball’s in the back of our net.

 

“We got players back, but it doesn’t matter how many we leave back if they don’t defend properly.

 

“I think that was the cause of our problems this afternoon; poor defensively for the three goals in the first-half.”

 

When asked if the scoreline reflected the match, the boss said: “In no way [did the scoreline reflect the game].

“We had enough situations in the game ourselves, probably as many as Harrogate.”

 

The boss switched the Stags’ formation at the break. 

 

“We went to a back four second-half and toyed with it all week [starting with a back four],” he said.

 

“Having kept the clean sheet at Rochdale last week, the only problem was the same personnel weren’t available to us.

 

“That should’ve maybe dictated a different side.

 

“Elliott Hewitt I didn’t think was fit enough to start.

 

“Obviously, Laps [George Lapsloe] wasn’t.

 

“Lewis Page wasn’t. So we sort of stuck with a back three. 

 

“I don’t think it was anything really to do with the formation.

 

“If we don’t defend well enough individually or collectively as we did today then you’ll concede goals.

 

“They were very very clinical [and] I think they had three meaningful attacks in the first-half and scored three goals.”

 

Nigel added: “I’d have loved to have started Elliot Hewitt.

 

“He wasn’t fit enough to start. I would love to have had Stephen McLaughlin available today, not just for his pace but for his quality and everything.

 

“We played the players that we had available.”

 

A positive from the encounter was forward Rhys Oates making his return from the bench after rupturing his pectoral muscle in August. 

 

“[It’s] Very good [to see Oates back],” Nigel said. 

 

“There’s always positives in any game, but getting Rhys back on the pitch [was great].

 

“He’ll play some part in the match against Notts County on Tuesday night and we’ll see how he’s looking for Saturday.

 

“We were pleased to get Lewis Page on and I thought there were some good individual performances today as well.

 

“George Maris and Stephen Quinn I thought they played well today.

 

“I thought Hiram Boateng, that midfield, I thought they knocked it about well and we created chances well but we’ve got to put it in the back of the net. The more worrying thing for us is the other end, we need to do more defensively.”


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