No let-up at high-flying Mansfield Town as boss Adam Murray ups the intensity
Murray felt Saturday’s rollercoaster 4-3 away win at Dagenham was a perfect way for his players to get the kick up the backside he felt they needed to avoid complacency while still managing to win, Stags seeing a 1-0 lead evaporate and trail 3-1 before a fightback that ended with two late goals to snatch the win.
“Probably for the neutral it was a great game to watch. From our point of view, it was a great game in that it gave us a kick up the backside for certain parts of the team,” said Murray.
“Even though we have been brilliant for the last few weeks, sometimes you need that slap round the head to get you going again. Fortunately for us we have managed to do it by picking up three points.
“The first half-hour was not up to the standards the boys have set and we got found out a little bit.
“So it was a good wake-up call. But once got that first 30 minutes out the way I thought we were tremendous. We showed that we have got different tools in the armoury that we can use.”
He added: “We played some great stuff and put them on the back foot. We went and played in their final third and controlled the tempo for large parts of the game. So overall I was really pleased as we showed a maturity in the end to figure out how we were going to win the game.
“We never laid down and we had that never-say-die attitude that we are instilling into the group. So full credit goes to the lads for Saturday.
“They understood that they weren’t at the races to start off with but they turned it around and really put Dagenham to the sword. I think we could have had six or seven on Saturday. A few more would have gone in with a bit more ruthlessness. To be fair to their keeper, he made some ridiculous saves.”
Stags went into the game having conceded only six goals all season, the third best record in the while Football League. But by half-time they had let three more in.
“Their goals were all our own fault,” said Murray. “We spoke about certain things in the build-up to the game I was aware of that would take place and they didn’t take that on board, which is not like this group.
“Everything I have told them, every plan we have put into place, we have carried them out so far. Hence why we are where we are. It just reiterates it to the boys that when we don’t carry the plans out, things won’t go our way.
“We killed ourselves with the goals. It was poor play from us. It is something we will be looking at this week and learning from and working on. It’s back to the training ground and the foot goes down again.”
Having won at Stevenage in midweek and taken an early lead at Dagenham, Murray agreed that some complacency may have slipped in
He said: “As much as the boys aim to be professional at every point in the game and the preparation, there is always a subconscious thing seeps in, especially when you are playing as well as they have been, and it just proved the point that we can’t take the foot off the gas.
“If we think we can turn up to places 70 or 80 per cent and perform, you get found out. So it was brilliant for me. It gave them the wake-up call I believe some of them may have needed.
“Sometimes as a coach you can tell people this is what might be around the corner if we don’t keep doing what we are doing, but for them to witness it and see it with their own eyes they were hurt on Saturday and it was the biggest learning curve they could have had.”
Murray revealed after the game that there was a half-time bust-up between his players over what had gone wrong, which left Murray little to do in terms of motivation.
“It was brilliant. You need that,” he said. “If they had gone in there and accepted it and it had been quiet and heads down, or there was an acceptance about the environment, winners don’t do that.
“So for the reaction we got, it made me smile. I was happy with it. We put the technical and tactical information to them after that and we saw a different team in the second half.
“We were a million times better and back to what we are about. Our two centre halves defended and we created numerous problems.
“The motivational bit was done by the players. They do it day in day out on the training ground. They hold their own meetings on the training ground when things are not going right, which is not very often.
“Credit to them. The big thing is we don’t get complacent. We’ve won a couple of games this week and that’s it. We will be working very hard this week, double sessions, and we will make sure nothing is left unturned.”