Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox admitted Saturday’s trip to Dagenham and Redbridge can’t come soon enough as shattered Stags look for an immediate chance to bounce back from tonight’s 4-1 home drubbing by relegation rivals Bury.
Lethargic Mansfield turned in their worst home showing of the season, chasing shadows, and Cox admitted he should, in hindsight, have freshened the side up for tonight instead of remaining unchanged.
“I need to pick them up now and work on their mindset for Saturday,” he said.
“The last time we put in a performance similar to that was Rochdale away back around Christmas time.
“I am disappointed and the lads are disappointed and we need to get it out of our systems as quickly as possible. So Saturday can’t come quickly enough for me.
“This is the league we are in this season and if I am honest I knew we wouldn’t get to the end of the season winning every game and playing fluid football. It doesn’t happen like that.
“I thought there were a few tired bodies out there, though that’s not an excuse as Bury played on Saturday too.
“Next time we play in midweek I may have to make some bigger and better decisions.
“Hindsight is brilliant, but maybe coming into tonight I should have probably made a few changes and freshened things up a bit.”
He added: “We didn’t deserve anything tonight. I would probably have booed that. You are going to have nights like tonight. Put in a bad display like that and you deserve the stick that comes your way.
“I have no complaints. We were beaten by a better side all round. We were a million miles off the pace and got what we deserved, which was a bit of a spanking.
“Everything that was right against Fleetwood on Saturday was wrong tonight. We let them play and when you do that at this level you will get hurt. We never got close.
“Usually when we lose the opposition know they’ve been in a game. I don’t believe Bury will think they’ve been in a game tonight. We stood back and admired them.”
Cox also issued a warning to any player believing Stags are now safe from relegation.
“I just hope one or two of my players don’t think the job is done after a decent run of results as once you think that, you get a short, sharp kick in the backside,” he said.
“We are in a relegation battle and they have all summer to rest their legs.”
Bury boss David Flitcroft said: “It has been getting better and better and I was pleased with the way we locked down the pitch tonight.
“Some of our football was unplayable and we showed a cutting edge and drive. Every aspect of tonight was A1.
“We have worn them down. After 20 minutes of possession football we de-energised them. When you do it well you also energise yourselves and we just grew and grew.”
He continued: “We have done so many miles on the training ground just to get here and the lads have been a credit to the club and myself. They represent everything I believe in football.
“We are a good team who play with pace, power and real quality. We caused them so many problems tonight down the sides and behind them.
“We have players out and tonight we were down to what we’d got. But every single player played a massive part, including those on the bench.”