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Manager encouraged by Stags’ start to season

23 September 2023

Stags’ boss Nigel Clough says he’s encouraged by his side’s start to the season as Mansfield moved to third in the table with a 1-0 win at home to Barrow.

Ollie Clarke’s 72nd minute strike proved the difference in a game of relatively few chances.

But Stags, despite not playing to their best, extended their unbeaten sequence to 11 games in league and cup.

Nigel spoke to iFollow Stags after the match and said: “It's been a nice steady start, eleven games. We’ll try and extend that on Tuesday against Peterborough, but it’s been encouraging.

“It's a brilliant seven points that we’ve had in the last couple of weeks; four points on the road and three points today, two clean sheets and back to third in the league. I don’t think we can ask much more of the players.

“It’s not always going to be brilliant, and sometimes you have to grind a few out. These one-nils at the end of the season can be very important to where we finish.”

On the performance, he said: “It was very hard-fought and looked as though it could be a nil-nil and you’re just hoping for someone to come up with a flash of brilliance. Ollie Clarke’s strike from the edge of the box wins us the game.

“I’m very pleased with a clean sheet. We were not quite at our best. We’re not as fluent as we were a few weeks ago and a little disjointed at times. But we have seven points from nine and without playing at our best, that’s a good sign.”

Stags were much-improved in the second-half and Nigel said: “I thought the three strikers in the first half struggled to make an impact. [They were] A little bit better in the second-half, we put a couple of balls down the side of them.

The boss said that his charges may have to vary their playing style in certain games this season.

“That’s my only slight criticism, I think we have to mix it up a little bit more than we are doing at the moment.

“Barrow came and made it difficult for us. It’s our job to try and get round it. The best way is by varying it slightly.

“You’ve seen how we want to play, you’ve seen that in the first few home games this season. The opposition aren’t always going to let you do that, so let’s mix it up a bit.”

Meanwhile, the manager confirmed that full-back Callum Johnson was out with a hamstring problem, while midfielder Hiram Boateng had a back spasm in the week and could only make the bench. Meanwhile, George Maris could only play 20 minutes of today’s encounter after being sidelined last weekend with a knee problem.

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