Manager Nigel Clough was pleased with his side’s attitude and work rate in their narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Everton U21 in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.
The two sides had matched each other closely for much of the contest before Youssef Chermiti converted a 91st minute penalty to seal the result.
The gaffer was encouraged by the endeavour he saw from his players.
“I was pleased with [the team’s] efforts,” he told iFollow Stags after the match.
“People needed minutes tonight and got them. We didn’t want Macca [Stephen McLaughlin] to come off quite so early, he needed another ten minutes but he felt his groin. That was the only down side.
“Hiram [Boateng] Got a good 90 minutes under his belt, [James] Gale and [Will] Swan too.
“I was pleased with everybody. It’s always about the attitude as much as anything. We wasted a couple of crosses and we can play a little bit better at times but it’s all about the attitude and the work rate. I thought that was spot on again.
“We didn’t want to lose the game. Scott [Flinders] made a couple of good saves, George Cooper made a couple of great blocks and how we haven’t scored at this end [I don’t know]. I think James Gale had one deflected just inches past the post. We’re not particularly bothered about the competition, it’s more about keeping players fit.”
The Stags fielded a 4-3-3 formation, with McKeal Abdullah and James Gale to the left and right of striker Will Swan.
Nigel said: “[We played a] 4-3-3. We didn’t have anyone natural in the line-up to go behind the front two, something Gale, Swan and young McKeal [Adbullah] aren’t suited to so you saw a little bit more width.
“We’re short of midfield players as you saw from the midfield we lined up with tonight, three lefties in there as well which isn’t great for balance. “Two defenders in Baily [Cargill] and Macca [Stephen McLaughlin] who did a job in there too. [It] Was good for their fitness to get a runaround.”
Mansfield are back in league action this Saturday with a trip to 13th placed Salford.
Nigel provided an update on the squad’s fitness: “We’ll have a count up and see how Macca [McLaughlin] is after tonight. [Mclaughlin] Just felt it [his groin] during a pass he played wide. So just precautionary, we took him straight off.
“Louis Reed hasn’t trained so far this week, [nor has] Davis Keillor-Dunn.
”Lucas Akins, we don’t think will be available. So we’ll see what we’ve got after that.
“[Ollie Clake] had a scan and I think he’s going to be a few weeks [until he is fit to play].
“It’s important now to make sure that we totally focus on the league and we maintain that unbeaten run for as long as we can.”