Middlesbrough boss Garry Monk was delighted with the quality of opposition Mansfield Town provided his Premier League-chasing side in last night’s friendly and wished Steve Evans’ side all the best for the campaign ahead.
Boro, just relegated to the Championship, had to dig deep after going 2-0 behind early on in a fantastic first half before levelling before the break.
“Mansfield were very good,” said Monk. “As you’d expect they were very competitive.
“We have played a number of sides from the lower leagues already this pre-season and each one has given us a good test.
“That was our first full 90 minutes this pre-season and Mansfield have some good players – players I am fully aware of as well.
“Credit to them. I am sure they will be looking to have a good season this season and build on the squad they have. We wish them luck in the season ahead.”
On the game overall, he added: “That was important as it was the first 90 minutes for a lot of those players.
“As I expected at this stage we saw some really good passages of play which I’m looking for from the players and other parts where we need to improve.
“It’s very early days with a new manager, new ideas, a new way of working and we have had some new players with others going out. So it feels like a new group.”
Monk felt the way his side battled back from 2-0 down bodes well.
“That mentality and character is going to be needed for sure in this league,” he said.
“It is the most difficult league in the world. It’s so competitive with 12 or 13 teams in with a chance of a good season or a promotion season.
“There is an expectation of teams coming down that they should bounce straight back, but in the last 10 years 30 teams have come down and only nine have bounced straight back which shows you how competitive this league is.”
George Friend had to limp off at the break as he felt the effects of a firm tackle by Stags defender Hayden White, but Monk said: “He is okay. At this stage there is no point in taking any risks. He just took that knock and could have carried on.”