CURLE AND WARD REACTION
Stags manager Keith Curle said: "If you give silly goals away you get beaten.
"I have a group of players who fight and battle for everything when they go two goals down.
"I don't know if they are scared but I would have thought that at 0-0 there is more to fight for.
"The last 20 minutes they came out their shells but it mystifies me where they were for the previous 70 minutes.
"On the training pitch we look a team but people have to show the desire to peform on the platform we give them on a Saturday.
"Cheltenham's first goal was a superb effort and you don't mind getting beaten by one of those. But the other three were soft and preventable. We just needed to show a bit of composure at the right times instead of making wrong decisions.
"As a manager the buck stops with me, though, just as I get a pat on the back when we win."
Ward delighted with four goal display
John Ward interviewed after the 4-2 win over Mansfield Town:
"I challenged the players yesterday at the training ground by telling them we were playing a team fourth from top of the table who had beaten us 4-0 earlier in the season. I don't go with the thing that we owe them one but the league table says that they are better than us so we've got to really work hard and I wanted to win. I wasn't asking us to be tight and get another 0-0, I asked the players to be forward and positive and to try and win the game.
"We had one or two edgy moments but in the main the team was on the front foot and tried to win the game. Putting four goals away was also a nice reward for the players and the way they have worked at it.
"It's a major confidence boost to get four goals and particularly the guys who scored, especially Kay coming on at the end and getting one. People will say he was lucky with the chance but I don't think he was because he was on the spot, he was aware and managed to nick the ball. I'm really pleased because while we have quite rightly been praising defenders lately the forwards have really added to those team performances and today they got the reward for it.
"There were plenty of things going on, Shane Higgs made a good save, we hit the bar and their goalkeeper made a good save from Martin Devaney as well. When it's 3-2 and you see your goalkeeper pull off a good save you are grateful for it. Shane is a good keeper and he saved us a point or two at Rochdale as well last week.
"I'm happy to get four goals because I want the team to express themselves. We said some weeks ago that we could not relax and had to keep working the players and be hard to beat. Today we asked them to be a bit more relaxed and more positive and they were able to do that. The goals we scored were good quality goals, well worked and put away with confidence.
"We've got a tough patch of matches coming up and we saw this as a very hard game. Mansfield are a good side and a big threat. They have played a major part in an entertaining game and it's a good feeling to have beaten a good side like this. We had to be on our best behaviour as it were but in the main we did that. The defenders are disappointed to have let two in, which is good because that's the mood we have introduced now.
"We've tried hard to improve the quality but people have made slight criticisms such as playing five in midfield against Hull or playing tight and getting 1-0 results. It's constructive criticism and I have no problem with that but I just felt today that we could let the lads go and play with a bit more freedom and they responded to that.
"I still don't think we are necessarily ready for the teams at the top of the division and one result does not necessarily make that happen. We've shown ourselves capable of doing well in the bottom part of the division and for me it's in stages. I'm not looking for leaps and bounds at this club but for little stages and little improvements. We knew today that if we won we could not catch the next team above us but we could close the gap. But I don't kid myself that this result will make us play better at Doncaster or Oxford because they are good sides in the top three on their own grounds.
"We've still got loads of work to do but what we have done is shown to the players and shown to the crowd that there are still possibilities for this team to improve. We have not had a really upsetting reverse yet and that will be another test. We've still got a lot of testing out to do with this team but they are coming along well at the minute."
Latest | February 2004