As Mansfield Town’s season ended in a fashion typical of this campaign with more injuries and another on-field capitulation, manager Adam Murray admitted he was glad it was over, but excited by the rebuilding job ahead this summer.
Stags saw a deserved interval lead overturned by a poor second half as they lost 2-1 at Accrington Stanley on a freezing cold last day of the season.
Callum Elder (illness) and Martin Riley (hamstring) were forced to turn out for the depleted side, Riley’s hamstring going before the end, while Ryan Tafazolli had to come off with a closed eye from a cut and Matt Rhead had to stay on with a groin strain as all substitutes had been used.
To read the match report click HERE
“I am glad it’s over – I won’t lie,” said Murray.
“Today was the same as it’s been for the last six months. I keep saying the same things and I get bored of talking.
I am glad it’s over – I won’t lie
“This season was a challenge from the off. We knew from pre-season the way the season was going to go and the fight we were going to be in for. So we planned it out that way.
“At times we have made it tougher for ourselves, like we did today.
“As a club, everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.
“Today we lost Martin Riley with his hamstring, Matt Rhead couldn’t move for the last 20 minutes as his groin had gone, Ryan Tafazolli couldn’t see out of his eye, it had completely closed, so we had to take him off, and Callum Elder was throwing up all last night, but we didn’t have any other options.
“We must have run over a lot of black cats this year. I hope that’s the bad luck out of the way and I now feel very positive about the future. I can’t wait to start pre-season.”
Murray is expected to undertake major surgery on the playing squad with several players likely to be shown the door this week.
“Being honest, a few players have signed their own death warrants,” he said. “The decisions have not been made over a short period of time. Players have had plenty of chances to work hard and put performances in that warrant them being a part of my team next year.
“It showed again today, especially in the second half, after we had dominated the first half.
“We showed our weaknesses and lack of certain aspects in the team.
“But part of me is really excited. I was looking at the fans today and thinking you deserve something you can stand there and be proud of. I will give that to them. Our supporters today were fantastic.
“But, though certain players are not a good enough standard to move us forwards, you can see they have tried.
“They’ve made me angry at times, but this group, even though they’ve not been consistent enough, they’ve still kept this club in the Football League which was our aim from the off.
“Sometimes you have to have a season of consolidation to get your house in order from the inside, regroup and go again.”
Murray’s retained list is expected to be announced this week and he said: “I need to let the lads know what’s going on.
“I have a lot of targets I am talking to and I want to get going now. I want to bring in first and foremost good people. Then I want to put the footballers in place that can go and express themselves.
“A lot of new things are coming in over the summer, though they are things that most clubs have already like sports scientists. We are moving from being dinosaurs into the modern day.”
Mansfield today ended up with a new club record of lowest ever goals scored with 38 and also completed an entire season without being awarded a penalty kick.
But Murray wasn’t surprised, saying: “At times we have only had one person in the box.
“We have not been an attacking threat for two years. But I will make us a force in this league if I am allowed to do what I want to do. I can’t wait.
“This close season is massive. Now this season is over we can get our foot down on the pedal and can put our full focus on it.
“It’s been a tough one for me. I am not thick. As much as I care for this football club I know it doesn’t make me a good manager. As much as have been a fairly good player for the club, that doesn’t make me a good manager.
“But I do believe I have the ability to become a good manager and I am confident I will do that.
“Speak to the players - and a lot of them probably don’t like me very much at the minute – and they will tell you that on the training ground I am up there for my age and experience. My learning curve has been a steep one.
“Even though it’s been tough, I have enjoyed it as I love fighting. Sometimes I have actually wanted to fight!