Despite criticism from some supporters for not believing victory in Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy group game with Lincoln was important, Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans said he wouldn’t change a thing if he did it all again tomorrow.
Evans made 10 changes and tried to keep those players out there as long as possible to get vital minutes into their legs for the League Two games.
While doing that, Stags saw an early 1-0 lead turn into a 3-1 defeat thanks to two late Lincoln goals and a section of fans chose to boo the players off.
Evans was baffled and said: “I spoke to a manager from League One who was at the game and he said for 35 minutes there was one team on the pitch. One team playing the football and dominant.
“We made it more of a battle second half with our intensity and willingness to move the ball quickly.
“When we conceded the second goal I think it was a foul on Alex MacDonald and the third goal that Matt scored – I thought he had missed it – we’d sent Bobby (keeper, Olejnik) up (for a corner).
“But if I was making the decision tomorrow to do it again on Saturday, making the changes and giving people an opportunity to put themselves in the hat, I would do the same again.
“You have be strong as a manager and believe that what you are doing is right. Not do what you think others would do.
“If you are a supporter I understand – I support Glasgow Celtic – you’d wish to turn up and watch your team win. For half-an-hour you don’t see that will be a problem happening.
“But we didn’t want to introduce anyone from the bench. Then one or two got a little bit tired or we wouldn’t have introduced anyone from the bench.”
He continued: “Lincoln brought on their big stars, their big earners, to try to win a Checkatrade game.
“That’s their decision and good luck to them. The one thing we’ve got is a lot of respect for Lincoln City.
“We will put it behind us and worry about that competition the day before it comes round again.”
Having made 10 changes, Evans said the midweek game allowed him to rest up players who gave so much against Luton and a chance for others to prove their worth.
“It had zero effect on our preparations for this Saturday other than maybe put one or two people into contention,” he said.
“There were also one or two people who we thought probably might not be able to go out and deliver the performances to be in it, which were rubber-stamped.
“We wanted to have a week where the bulk of the group starting at Carlisle would be fresh after last Saturday’s outstanding performance against Luton.
“We are going to be judged over what happens over a league season, not what happens in the Checkatrade; though I still think we will qualify.”