Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray feels his side’s impressive start to the new season seems to be going unnoticed by most people outside the town – and that is just the way he likes it.
The Stags’ third win on the trot – a 3-0 success against Newport County on Saturday – left them fourth in League Two, one point from the automatic promotion slots and four points off top spot with a quarter of the season gone.
Murray smiled: “I love it at the minute. We are little old Mansfield just chugging along and no one cares about us.
“Our players aren’t getting the credit they deserve at the minute and it’s brilliant. Let us go under the radar.
“We know how good our players have been, not just in the month gone but for the season so far. We are a quarter of the way through and these boys have been fantastic.
“The big question mark now is how good can you be and how long can you be that good for? That’s what I will be putting to them.
“We need to be consistent. You don’t win anything in a month. You’ve got to do it over the course of a season and the focus now will go straight onto Bristol Rovers for Saturday.”
Murray added: “All the signs are positive at the minute. But we have to make sure this intense focus, the tempo of our work and our intensity, gets even higher now. Everything will go up a notch. The foot goes down and the workload goes up. People have got to keep up with that.
“It’s easy for people to say we want to be successful, actions speak louder than words and it’s the doing that matters.
“I believe I can get this club where it wants to be and we’ve got to do it at the right pace and people have to keep up.”
After a season of struggle last time around and a massive changeover of playing staff in the summer, Murray said it was vital everyone kept a sense of perspective about this season.
“I keep harping on about it, and I will keep harping on about it, I said from the start of the season it is important that we understand where we’ve come from,” he said.
“We’ve had a massive overhaul, a massive change.
“I keep using the words progression and realism. This is what this season for me is about.
“It’s about making sure I can see the work and the way I believe in work, I’m seeing bits of that, making sure I see the football club progress, I’ve seen that, making sure my team progresses, I’ve seen that, and at the end of it whether it’s one, two or three years, we ultimately are a team and club that continually has success.
“I believe we can do that, but we have to keep the realism and keep the focus on what has got us to fourth in the league and that is an unbelievable work ethic and an unbelievable team spirit. We do the basics very well day in day out.”
Again Newport, Stags rarely looked in any trouble though keeper Brian Jensen had to stay alert to make a couple of important saves, one with the game finely balanced at 1-0.
“It wasn’t as complete a performance as I would have liked,” said Murray.
“We were good first half, dominated the game, had a lot of possession, and took onto the pitch what we worked on in the week, which was pleasing to see. But we lacked that cutting edge and that bit of intensity needed.
“I had a word at half-time and the lads came out for the second half a little bit more expansive in their play, especially in the final third and we stretched them a little bit more, made the pitch a bit bigger, got our goal, relaxed a little bit, got our second goal, relaxed even more, and then we lost a little bit of our defensive structure and the discipline that we have had.
“At 2-0 up it’s a horrible scoreline and you can’t take your foot off the gas.
“They had a couple of chances that I wasn’t happy with. Then we finished off with another great great goal that made it comfortable, but there were bits in the second half we must do better.”
Murray continued: “We should have created more clear chances first half. And the basis of all our work is our defensive discipline.
“We scored three great goals but I was more pleased with the clean sheet. Brian has made two great saves which he shouldn’t have had to make. We shouldn’t be in those positions.
“We spend a lot of time on our defensive organisation. When we scored the first and second goals we got a little bit sloppy with our shape and could have been on the back end of conceding.
“We need to look at that and make sure our standards don’t drop, but overall it was a really pleasing outcome. We got the majority of the process right on Saturday which will always lead to points.”