Kean praises Stags defence after fine first month on loan

Mansfield Town's Jake Kean - Photo by Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town's Jake Kean - Photo by Chris Holloway

Jake Kean may have only conceded one League goal in his five League Two games for Mansfield Town so far.

But the Sheffield Wednesday loanee said equal praise has to go to the watertight defence in front of him.

As Stags head south to Barnet for their first game of February tomorrow, the 25-year-old said: “From watching the lads against Doncaster they looked a solid defensive unit, so it was always going to be very easy coming in and slotting behind KP (Krystian Pearce) and whoever he is playing with.

“A lot of the credit has got to go to the lads in front of me. If you look against Leyton Orient I don’t think I had anything to do other than a lot of kicking.

“I am obviously part of it but I am there as a last line of defence and more credit should go to the lads in front of me because of how they’ve defended. Really they have made it easy for me.”

Kean began his Stags career with four clean sheets in a row and puts the excellent defensive record down to the organisation provided by boss Steve Evans and assistant Paul Raynor.

“It has a lot to do with the manager and Raynesy for how they are setting us up and the work they and we put in Monday to Friday,” he said.

“It’s working and the lads are responding well to it on the training pitch and taking it into the games.

“Training is intense. Obviously with a lot of new faces coming in, the lads that have come in feel they’ve got a lot to prove with how we’ve been doing. And the lads that are in the team want to stay in the team.

“You look at Greeny (Matt Green) and Yoann (Arquin) who have done really well the last couple of games when they’ve come on, it’s just a really good work ethic at the minute.”

Kean is one eight new faces in the January window and he said everyone was getting on well off the field which has helped on it.

“It looks like the lads have gelled really well,” he said.

“I have settled in really well. But that starts in the dressing room.

“It’s a good laugh – the lads get on with each other. We have a laugh and a joke, we go out for meals and coffees, it makes it easier for us all to work for a collective goal.

“Obviously we are on a high. We’ve done really well in January aside from that one defeat in the cup.

“There is a lot of belief. You have only got to look at the lads the manager has signed - they all know the division and how to get out of it.

“There is starting to be a bit of belief we can actually go and knock on the door of the play-offs.

“Probably Cambridge away was the pick of the month. We went a goal down, then got back into it fortunately.

“At half-time we had a little chat with each other and second half the performance was probably one the best since I’ve been here.”

So far Kean is getting everything he could have wished for out of his loan spell.

He said: “I’ve had game time. I am getting individual plaudits as well as collective. It’s gone as well as I could have hoped so far.”

From day to day he is also getting to learn from experienced Stags keepers Scott Shearer and Brian Jensen, who are both on standby to replace him if he drops his standards.

“Scott and Brian, I have never seen two people work as hard as they do,” said Kean.

“I know I have to keep performing to the levels I know I can do as, if I don’t, then Scotty or Brian will be straight back in.

“I am learning a lot from them. They are very experienced and know more about football than I do at the minute. They’ve made it really easy for me and I want to pick up on little bits and bobs, techniques or drills.

“It is one of the best goalkeeping groups I have worked in.”

Already Kean can sense there could be something very special ahead at the end of the season.

“I feel very confident,” he said.

“With the performances we put in last month when we’ve gone a goal down or gone ahead and consolidated that, we’ve shown we’ve really got nothing to fear as it stands.

“We can go as far as we want to. As long as the lads keep believing in that and we’ve got that hunger to keep driving forward then there’s no reason why we can’t get in the play-offs.”

On tomorrow’s opposition Barnet, he added: “It will be a tough game.

“Obviously they are a couple of points in front of us, but like any other game we have to go there and do our thing and not worry about who we are playing.”