Adam Murray is demanding a reaction from his players after Saturday’s poor home display in the 1-0 defeat by Bury when AFC Wimbledon come to One Call Stadium tomorrow night.
The Stags boss was scathing about his players’ lack of desire and application after the game and had them all in for extra training on Sunday.
In a strange way it was probably one of the best things that could have happened as it gave anyone who needed it a kick up the backside and a reality check as the work is not yet done
“We are still disappointed,” said Murray. “But I think they understand that on Saturday they really let themselves down and let the fans down to a certain degree with our application levels.
“Yesterday was about getting focus back on track. Because they have been absolutely superb recently, performances like that are bolts out of the blue. I didn’t see that coming to be honest.
“We didn’t come in to beat each other up, just to look at the whys, and we aim to put that right on Tuesday.
“In a strange way it was probably one of the best things that could have happened as it gave anyone who needed it a kick up the backside and a reality check as the work is not yet done.
“I expect a reaction tomorrow. The very basics are hard work, passion and pride to represent this football club. I didn’t see enough of that on Saturday.
“They are hurting right now and a lot of them are angry and upset.”
The Dons arrive in 12th place, seven points off the play-offs, after a spell of one win in five and have drawn three and lost four of their last seven away games.
“It’s another great game and we have some good games coming up and want to get back on track,” said Murray.
“Neil (boss Ardley) has done a great job. They are still in the hunt for the play-offs and they are a good side – but we are as well.
“We are aware of the threat Adi Akifenwa offers, but we have threats in the dressing room too. Tomorrow is about us and getting back on track.”
Mansfield are now counting down the final 10 games of the season, still needing up to three wins to be safe and Murray added: “I feel excited. Even though we were poor on Saturday, no one can argue there hasn’t been an improvement.
“On Saturday we had more shots on target and, against a team known for dominating possession against the majority of teams in this league, there was not much difference and we probably had the best chances of the game, but didn’t take them.
“We are on exactly the same number of points as we were this time last year with probably a lot less resources, so we are winning as a group.
“That’s perspective and how we have to look at it. The reaction of some of the fans on Saturday disappointed me. But I do understand it and I would probably have felt the same.”
Two weeks ago Murray made six changes to his side to freshen it up for a Tuesday game which paid off with a 1-0 win at Newport. But he suggested that tomorrow he may give players a second chance after the Bury defeat.
“We have games in quick succession again and I have to pick a side I feel will be beneficial to this football club,” he said.
“An important factor is that I think I have a lot of players who want to put things right tomorrow, which will be in my thought process.”