Cox blames tiredness on lethargic Stags performance in 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers

With the season's first win chalked up, manager Neil Cox gives a big thumbs up to the Stags' fans at the final whistle.
With the season's first win chalked up, manager Neil Cox gives a big thumbs up to the Stags' fans at the final whistle.

Manager Paul Cox felt his Mansfield Town side looked lethargic in today’s 1-1 home draw with Bristol Rovers, and partly blamed the exertions of the midweek derby clash with neighbours Chesterfield.

“I think that was two points dropped and I thought that was a lethargic display from us. You want to be on the front foot at home,” he said.

“We probably scored at the right time but then took our foot off the pedal.

“It was only when they scored that we started to play again and show the power, pace and passion I wanted. It was too little, too late.

“To give my players some credit, they were immense on Tuesday against Chesterfield.

“But, like the League game, I think it took a lot out of them and there was a bit of stiffness and tiredness out there.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I did have players in my squad who could have come in with fresh legs. But I am a loyal person and I thought their performance on Tuesday warranted them staying in the side.

“I have told them to go home, enjoy their weekend and come back in on Monday ready to get back on track.

“We need to stop trying to impress people and get back to what we are good at which wins football matches. I have told them not to be so conformist in trying to please everyone.

“That wasn’t good enough today. That wasn’t us.

“Take nothing away from Bristol Rovers, they are not bad, worked extremely hard and came away with a deserved point. It would probably have been unfair on Rovers if we had gone on and won the game.

“We were off the pace and our mindset was all wrong The game was too open.”

“I am extremely pleased and never less than proud of my players. They worked extremely hard as they always do,” said relieved Rovers boss John Ward.

“We fully deserved to get something out of it, we deserved to win it. We have just got to work harder to win it when we are on top.

“There was a bit more noise from the home dressing room at the end than from ours which tells you more about the game than I can say. They were more disappointed than us.

“We passed the ball well and moved the ball well which we are sometimes accused of not doing.
“We started off really well against a team who have started the season on fire.

“For their goal Steve (Mildenhall) shouted ‘mine’ but didn’t claim it. Their guy has nipped in and it was a good header from their point of view.

“Then we had got it all to do. But we stayed positive to the end instead of getting edgy.

“The Mansfield supporters knew we deserved a point. One of them shouted ‘well done’ to me at the end which must have hurt him and says more than me bragging about my team.

“That was as young a back four that Bristol Rovers have ever fielded, so great credit to them. I hope I can get them a bit of support but we are still stuck with this wage cap.”