Although he wanted more points and safety from relegation achieved earlier, he was happy to see the more attacking style he wants starting to bear fruit.
And he admitted to be safe with a game to go was a long way from the perilous situation he inherited from previous manager Graham Coughlan.
“We are very pleased with the progress, just not the points return,” said Clough.
“The points return should have been greater, though 55 points did seem a very long way away in November when you're only on seven and the team haven't won in 14 games.
“If someone had said you'll have 55 with a game to go I think anyone would have snapped their hand off.
“Safety has always been a priority, but it's also been about trying to develop the style of play – a more attacking style of play – and trying to get the youngsters involved as well. It's been trying to do all those things while getting safe.
“So we have ticked a few boxes but it's very much early stages. It's only the start.
“It's only the very first stage. But it's a very important one surviving.”
At one stage there were faint hopes Mansfield might go on to challenge for a play-off spot, but that was soon gone after weather and Covid 19 saw momentum halted by several postponements.
“I think after we won the five games on the spin we were hoping to push on, but it was circumstances more than anything that prevented that,” said Clough.
“We had an enforced break with only one game in four weeks.
“We lost George Lapslie injured. We brought in Ollie Sarkic as a striker and we lost him – he's not been fit most of the time, which has been unlucky for him.
“We got a good point at Walsall first game back and went to Colchester where they scored with a deflection in the 90th minute.
“Then at home to Bolton we were 2-0 up with 11 minutes to go and lost.
“I think with those two results as well as the break and the injuries, the total of those things just hindered our progress.”