Ryan Tafazolli said Mansfield Town’s players have been surprised but just how good a manager Adam Murray is and the defender is adamant it would be a backward step not to give Murray the job full-time.
Murray, who had been playing in the side all season, was thrust into the hot seat as caretaker last week when Paul Cox left the club and Tafazolli said Murray had been a revelation and predicted greater things for the 33-year-old.
Stags have completed their interviews for the post and an announcement could be made as soon as tomorrow ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Cambridge.
Tafazolli said: “Muz has surprised a few of us what a good manager he is and how great a manager he can become, though the transition to manager is always a difficult one.
“Tactically he’s been incredible and he’s tried to take things slowly with us. But you can see what he’s done in only two weeks – we have come on leaps and bounds.
“He wants to turn us into a well-oiled machine, start picking up points and provide entertaining football for the fans, which is the main thing as we had a lot of complaints with how it was before.”
After two wins, Murray suffered his first defeat, 3-0 at title favourites Luton Town last weekend, but Tafazolli said: “Luton have had two and a half years, Adam Murray has had two weeks. But we more than matched them at times. Who knows what we are capable of?
“Muz has been absolutely brilliant with us. He wants us to express ourselves and play with freedom. It does feel like the shackles have been taken off.
“We are all now waiting on the new manager and it would be great if it was Muz.
“It would be shame if it wasn’t as we have come such a long way in two weeks I think it would be a backward step if he doesn’t get it.
“But, whoever the new manager is, we will work hard for them.
“It is a fresh challenge and everyone is on trial. Everyone has a clean slate and has to prove themselves.”
To reach tomorrow’s second round tie at Cambridge, Stags had to overcome Conference South battlers Concord Rangers away from home in a tough replay.
As a former Concord player, Tafazolli was happy to advise his team mates what to expect from the spartan surroundings on Canvey Island.
“It’s always nice to go back to play against a former team and they proved to be a really tough test,” he said. “So I am happy we came through it and got into the next round.
“When you are Evo-Stik or Conference South level there is a large turn-around of players and there were only two or three there that I remember from when I was there.
“I gave the lads the heads up that it wouldn’t be the best facilities. We just had to go and do a job and make sure we got through to the next round.”
He added: “Cambridge will be a tough test for us on Saturday and to get to round three would be a great achievement.
“We have had quite a lot of luck with big name draws and just missed out on playing Liverpool two years in a row last season.
“Getting another Premier League club in round three is a massive incentive for us on Saturday. We know what we could come up against if we beat Cambridge. Fingers crossed we can perform well on the day.”
Tafazolli is delighted to be back from recent injury and finding his feet in a new formation.
“It’s always a worry with me when I get injured,” he said. “If you look at my history I have had long periods out before. But I am happy my rehab went well with the physio and I am back fighting fit and trying to get a full season behind me.
“This is the first time I have played in a back four for Mansfield so it’s all new to me. But we have started to work on a few things in training with Muz which have been good and I hope we can prove to be a solid unit and start keeping a few clean sheets.”