Angry Stags boss Paul Cox warned his players they are in for a tough week after he felt some may have shown complacency in today’s 1-0 home defeat by Accrington Stanley.
Mansfield were booed off at half-time and full-time after yet another poor result against in-form Stanley, with skipper Adam Murray unlucky to be sent-off near the end, and Cox said: “That first half will not be tolerated.
“I thought we improved second half and camped in their half without really putting Stanley under any real stress and pressure.
“Maybe one or two players think there is a place in the side for them every week and there is perhaps a bit of complacency.
“We’ve built our success on our desire and application and the way we go about things. So that wasn’t us first half.
“We’ve had a half-decent start and it’s easy to get carried away with that. If I need to talk to individuals and set them straight to put them back on the path, I will do.”
He added: “You can’t expect to start games after 20 minutes or 45 minutes and win a game of football. You have got to earn the right and we seem to want to do all the nice things right now but none of the ugly things that win matches.
“Some of our recent results have masked that up. So if I now need to wheel and deal to bring players in with heat and desire, willing to scrap out a game I will do that.
“It is back to the school of hard knocks for them this week. We can’t have a holiday period and rest on our laurels.
“We can’t afford to go about our business in an average manner as, at this level, you get stung.
“If I have to be ruthless and people have to see the other side of me, so be it. There were harsh words in there at half-time and full-time. If players go home tonight sulking they can sulk all they want – it’s back to basics this week.”
On the big refereeing decisions, Cox said: “It was a penalty but there were some strange decisions later on. I will have a look at the red card on DVD to see if we will appeal but it seemed a bit harsh to me looking at the other tackles in the game.”
That makes it five wins out of six for Stanley and three out of three for returning manager John Coleman, who had some words of support for Cox.
He said: “Their manager took abuse from sections of their fans which he doesn’t deserve as he has done a terrific job there. Football can be a cruel mistress.
“Mansfield are a very good side who had won four of their five home games, so to come here and win is a great achievement.
“That’s back to back away wins and I can’t remember the last time I experienced that. “I am delighted with the players and the effort they put into that.
“There was a swagger about us and a belief. Give Mansfield their due, they reacted to that and made it more of a game for the last hour.
“We rode our luck at times towards the end which is still something to work on. We are a work in progress and we have to learn from this experience.
“I thought our back four and keeper were superb. There is an old saying that 1-0s win leagues and we have a great bunch with a great spirit and great characters. But we also have a work ethic.”
He added: “We are in the top half now but we won’t get carried away as we are not yet a quarter through the season and there is a lot of football still to be played. All we’ve got to do is give ourselves a fighting chance to be competing in the top half.”
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