Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough tells his players - go and create some memories at Wembley

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough has told his players to go out and create memories for themselves, their families, the club and the town in Saturday's League Two play-off final at Wembley.

Friday, 27th May 2022, 12:54 pm

As Stags prepare to face Port Vale, Clough said: “This is a big chance for the players, family and friends.

“Yes, we do it for ourselves and the team and everything like that.

“But players will be very aware of their loved ones being there and it is an opportunity to create memories for them.

Stags boss Nigel Clough wants his players to make memories as they chase play-off glory this weekend

“Mansfield don't go to Wembley very often and haven't been in League One too often.

"We have 90 minutes to try to get us there.”

Clough knows the pressure that will create on his squad and knows he needs to handle some of the players differently.

He said: “With players like Stephen Quinn and James Perch, you can pile the pressure on.

“They have been in bigger games than this over their careers.

“But you have a slightly different approach with the ones going there for the first time. It will be the biggest game of their careers.

“It's all been quite laid back this week so far, which is nice.

“It's been a long time we've been working towards this.

“We just want to perform somewhere near our best on Saturday – that's the aim more than anything else.

“It is more than 'just another game' – it has to be.

“It is the culmination of 10-11 months work and we have a one game opportunity to try to achieve our ambition that we set out to do at the start of the season.

“But if we lose it doesn't mean it's been a poor season. It's been successful to this point. But once you get to this point all you want to do is win that last game.”

Clough said their rise from the bottom two in October to now underlined how much belief the players have.

He continued: “That one game at Northampton when we were very poor, that's the only time there's been major grumbles.

“The rest of the time I thought there were reasonable explanations to say this is why we were where we were and that as soon as we get a few players back we will win some games.

“We improved the squad again in January which certainly helped us and we are where we are because of that.

“It would been very easy for them to turn on each other and factors from outside can turn on the players too. But that didn't happen and the players kept believing as they knew we weren't far away.

“The way we finished last season, we played very well and we played very well at the start of this season for the first four or five games. So that gave us something to hold onto.

“It wasn't as if we were saying this is what we want to do and we haven't done it before.

“We said we did it at the end of last season, we did it at the start of this season and we just need a few players back, a win, and we will be away.”

“The camp is buoyant -win both legs of the semi-final and you can't wait for Saturday.

“One thing you do remember from cup finals is people asking you for tickets and all the stuff like that.

"So you want to get all that dealt with early in the week so we can concentrate on the game.

“You also have to separate yourself from people going down for the weekend, saying it's a great day out – we're going to Wembley.

"For us this is work, nothing else, just work.”