Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray condemns worst display since he took charge in Exeter defeat
Stags marked his one year anniversary on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Hartlepool, but looked way off the pace tonight as Exeter coasted home in second gear and Stags went a sixth game in seven without scoring.
“That was probably the worst performance, especially first half, that I’ve had in the year in charge, said Murray.
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“We didn’t get started, we looked naïve and it looked a chore to play football tonight.
“It looked like we turned up and just thought the result was going to come tonight.
“I think we thought Exeter were going to roll over for us and I am a little bit embarrassed as it was not a team we’ve become used to seeing. I didn’t know we could do that to be honest so disappointed is putting it mildly.
“Exeter are always a tough team to play against. They change their formation often. They don’t play with fixed positions, they play a lot centrally and create a lot of overloads and we got done with those overloads.”
Murray changed tact at the break, making two changes and going 4-4-2.
“We were getting picked off at certain points so we had to make the middle of the pitch more solid as we were getting played through,” he said..
“When we did that we got a little bit more control of the ball but didn’t do enough with it.
“But Tonight we didn’t want to cross a ball, didn’t want to shoot, we didn’t want to put the ball into areas that would hurt them. From set plays we never looked like we were going to score – and that was one area I thought we were going to get at them today.
“If we’d moved the ball like we have done for 95 per cent of games, we’d have caused them problems.
“Credit to Exeter their movement and rotation in the front four was superb.”
Murray declined to shout and bawl at the players tonight but will hold an inquest with them tomorrow.
“I want answers for that as that’s not what I’ve put together,” he said.
“At times today, and it’s probably a learning curve for me, we started with quite a few of the young kids today and we looked naïve at times. Then when things are not going your way, it’s tough for the young kids as they need support and obviously they don’t get it here.
“It’s been a pleasure to watch this team up until tonight.
“We will be in tomorrow and we will pick it to bits as I am not accepting that. If we are going to lose a game of football we will lose it in the right way.
“It’s on their toes. We have a way of playing here and that’s not it.
“Even when we weren’t picking up the results we’ve performed better than that.
“I think they had two shots first half and they’ve scored two. We can’t defend like that. And when you’ve got to be a little bit brave as things are not going your way, I don’t think we were tonight.
“First half I have to give credit to Exeter as they have picked us apart.”