Murray hails massive week for Stags’ fight for survival

Stags boss Adam Murray.
Stags boss Adam Murray.

Adam Murray hailed taking seven points out of nine as a ‘massive week’ in Stags’ survival battle after today’s battling 1-1 draw on an awful pitch at relegation rivals Cheltenham Town.

The Mansfield Town manager also said he was hoping to sort something out with Scunthorpe United to keep loanee Billy Kee for next season.

Kee today bagged a 68th minute equaliser after coming on as a substitute after Stags had gone behind just after half-time.

“With seven points out of nine, it’s been a massive week,” said Murray. “We are finally starting to see the fruits of our hard work, though we are still nowhere near where I want to be.

“We hit our goals for February and the players have raised the bar for March which shows their confidence and optimism. Our main aim remains to stay in the League.

To read the match report click HERE

“It was scrappy and not very pretty today.

“For the first 45 minutes I thought we went through the motions and we were not at the standard the group has set themselves.

“We are going to go through games like this, but in the end it was a great point. We showed great desire to come back and get the goal.

“At times we didn’t defend as well as we have done, not just the back four but all round the pitch.

“The players need to trust me when I am trying to teach them as I have been in the position they are and I’ve lived a hundred lives.”

He added: “The sun was out and as we drove through the middle of town there were a lot of people sat outside in beer gardens, four cars with their roofs down and drivers with sunglasses on.

“The weak-minded would be thinking it’s nearly the end of the season and soon they would be on the beach with their Speedos on.

“I think a few of them were sipping pina coladas and rubbing suncream on their noses. But we are better than that and I had to give them a bit of a rollicking at half-time to reinforce that.

“In the second half the boys showed great grit and it was a big point for us.

“I think 1-1 was about right on the balance of play. It wasn’t the standard we have been at.

“Away to a side like that, who are fighting for points, it will be a battle and you can get a bit anxious.

“But I believe a couple of other results have gone for and we have another point on the gap, so it’s been a very good week.”

On Kee, he added: “He is a goalscorer. It was a tough one to leave him out today as I thought he was excellent on Tuesday.

“He has really bought into the ethos of the group and we are really starting to see the fruits of him now.

“I have spoken to Scunthorpe about future plans and I would love to have him here next season.

“Billy didn’t have a pre-season this year and he has been playing catch-up all season.

“We are now getting him where he needs to be, unfortunately it’s a bit late as his loan is over next month.

“I am someone who likes to put themselves in other people’s shoes and I want to understand them and what makes them tick. I like to know them inside out and I understand what Billy needs.”

The game was a scrappy affair on a bobbling pitch.

Murray said: “We went back to front quickly in the first half with the state of the pitch and because we wanted to put them on the back foot and make them defend their 18 yard box. We did that but then didn’t take advantage of it.

“There was also a very strong wind we didn’t utilise well first half.

“A big shout out again today to our fans. They come away to games like this and we didn’t give them much to shout about for the majority of the game. But they stuck behind us and helped push us over the line again.”