Murray praise for match-winning skipper Clements

Mansfield Town Manager Adam Murray
Picture by Dan Westwell

Mansfield Town Manager Adam Murray Picture by Dan Westwell

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Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray paid tribute to match-winning skipper Chris Clements after his stoppage time screamer saw Stags home 3-2 at Derby County U21s to book a place in the Checkatrade Trophy second round.

Stags saw their 2-0 lead after just five minutes wiped out by two deflected second half goals.

But temporary skipper Clements, man of the match on Saturday, capped another great display with a 25-yard top corner finish.

“It (the goal) was fitting in the environment we were in. He played like a captain tonight and led the team,” smiled Murray.

“It was an excellent performance from him, topped off by a fantastic goal.

“In his performances of late he’s been showing a lot of responsibility. I wanted to give him that little bit of an edge in terms of taking that next step in your development.

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“He is someone that leads by performances at times. People have said over the years that he can be a luxury, but when he is on it he is one of our key players.

“I felt he had earned the right to be captain tonight. It was good to see. He led with his voice at times in the changing room and on the pitch, so well done.

“He inspired people, which is a captain’s role. I’ve got a lot of time for Chris and when he plays like that he is a very good player.”

After an initial dislike of the new format of the EFL Trophy, Murray admitted he now wanted his side to go as far as they can.

“I know I ummed and arred about it at the start,” he said. “But if was can progress in this cup and get as close as we can to finals and stuff like that, let’s get some success. Why not?

“We have now taken a real turn over the last 10 days, all of us, the players and staff, me especially.

“I have a bit of peace in my mind and soul at the minute because that’s my team playing and I am doing things my way – it feels good.

“What we want to do now is build on that and use it as a platform to spring back into the play-off fight.”

Murray was delighted with his side’s performance, but felt they overplayed at times after going 2-0 up and caused their own problems.

“In the first 10 minutes we played some fantastic football,” he said.

“When you do that and go 2-0 up you think you’re Barcelona for the next 20 minutes and we played into their hands.

“We scored two goals and the boys were fantastic. The thing we will speak about is getting the balance and the decisions right. You can’t play total football and not mix it up by playing forward when you have to.

“For 20 minutes of the first half we overplayed and created our own problems. It was just getting that balance again.

“But when the boys are like that and they are confident, they just want to pass the ball and play and I don’t want to take that away from them.

“I think we’ve seen Saturday and tonight I’ve actually got peace in my heart at last because my team is back playing.”

On the Rams’ two replies, he said: “Both were disappointing, both took massive deflections. It was a bit frustrating.

“To be honest when it got to 2-2 my first question was is it extra-time or straight to penalties as that was the last thing we wanted?

“It was interesting to see the boys in that environment today. We saw their team sheet and it looked strong, so we knew it was going to be a tough game.”

Murray added: “It’s a fine line between real belief and touching on arrogance. That’s what we want to get. We want to be arrogant about how good we can be.

“We want to be arrogant that we might be Mansfield Town but we’ll fight you for everything.

“The boys did that today and even at 2-2 in the last minute they were going for the game.

“We tweaked the shape a bit and went three at the back in the second half to try to get bodies forward and fair play to the boys, they carried it off.”