CURLE AND WARD REACTION
Injury worries over Stags duo
MANSFIELD Town have injury worries over defender Rhys Day and midfielder Alex Neil ahead of Saturday's trip to Wycombe Wanderers.
Both players limped off during last night's 2-0 defeat at Cheltenham Town and both will be assessed today.
"Alex was hurt in a challenge and then found his knee kept locking," said manager Keith Curle.
"His departure was a major turning point in the game as he had been taking up some great positions and moving the ball well.
"Rhys had also gone in for a solid challenge and hurt his ankle. We will know better on both of them later today"
Despite the defeat, Curle was not too downbeat over a 90 minutes the visitors had largely dominated without reward.
"It was one of those - we just needed a break," he said.
"If you look at the overall statistics you will see we domianted the possession.
"I think the result was harsh on us as we played well but, in front of goal, the ball just wouldn't sit up right for us.
"In football you are sometimes going to have nights like that away from home and, if it happens, you just accept it and come away with a 0-0.
"But we have made two mistakes at the back and been punsished both times. They haven't opened us up - we have just been sloppy and not stuck to the guidelines laid down before the game.
"The first goal was down to ill discipline and the second a misjudgement at the near post.
"But, overall, there were a lot of positives on the night. We started the game brightly, retained possession, moved the ball well and created a few chances. We gave a decent account of ourselves.
"But you have to give Cheltenham some credit. They were organised and disciplined with their two banks of four."
Audio interview with Keith Curle from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed)
CURLE DISAPPOINTED WITH DEFEAT
Evening Post website
Mansfield manager Keith Curle said: "We're disappointed because we had large portions of the possession and have been beaten by two sloppy goals.
"We had problems with our discipline and we didn't stick to the guidelines but I still feel the scoreline was a bit harsh."
"The ball just wouldn't sit right for us in front of goal. We had a few chances and there are a lot of positives we can take from the game.
"We moved the ball extremely well and sometimes you are going to come away from home and get a 0-0 in a game like this - when things don't go right in front of goal.
"So we'll focus on the positives and identify the weaknesses before playing Wycombe."
Cheltenham manager John Ward could not hide his delight after his side claimed an impressive 2-0 win against high-flying Mansfield.
He said: "We've saved one of our best performances of the season for a very good team, a team in fourth position.
"We played some good football in the first half and then had to withstand some good football from Mansfield in the second and we've come through it very well. It was a treat to see the supporters stay and applaud the team off.
"It's been a hallmark of the season so far that we've been a far harder team to beat than last year and we are making that a base to try to go forward from."
Ward was also full of praise for Steve Guinan after the striker put the Robins ahead before half-time.
"It was a good goal and fully deserved. It may have looked easy but good players sometimes make the difficult things look easy," Ward added.
Ward delight at win over Stags
John Ward interviewed by the media after the 2-0 win over Mansfield Town at Whaddon Road:
"I've been trying to say we had that result tonight in us. We saved one of our best performances this season for a very good team, in 4th position, and we played very well. We had a lot of different things to do, we played good football in the first half, Mansfield responded well in the second half and we were well organised. It was a real treat to see the supporters stay and applaud at the end and we appreciate that. We'll try very hard to put more performances like that for them. We'll all enjoy that together and that's the best thing about this evening.
"I hope it's Brian Wilson's goal because if he's got booked for celebrating Martin Devaney's goal in that style then, well, it's rather foolish anyway! We'll need to clarify but they both claim it! Martin's louder than Brian so he'll be out here claiming it. I'll try to get my video man to shed some light on it. The goal was for Cheltenham Town, I've actually written my programme notes already for Saturday and I wrote that if we win this evening then if we win then we all win, if we score then we all score and that's exactly what happened tonight. It was for all of us, the fans, the players, management and directors.
"We worked very hard on defending at the training ground and it takes time. I'm a manager so I'm going to say that and certainly my defenders and keeper were disappointed on Saturday to concede a goal late on. I'm equally delighted tonight that everybody has mucked in as a team and made sure we kept a clean sheet and so we're very pleased with that tonight.
"The hallmark of this season already is that we are a harder team to beat than the one last year and we are making that a base to go forward from. We think we can play football from it and the base has been there to help us tonight. We defended well and remained strong and we had to do that 20 minutes into the second half because Mansfield were getting stronger and a greater share of the play at that time.
"The first half performance from my team was excellent, the passing, the moving and the goal late on was just reward for them. We played a good team in a very good game and Mansfield will be disappointed because both sides played big parts in an entertaining game.
"The shape we play is a base to work from. We are very much aware that people see it as one striker and if we lose it's a defending shape. It has to be a defending shape when the other team has the ball, and an attacking shape when we have the ball. I know it sounds ridiculous but that's the way and it's simple. When we don't have the ball then we work hard, when we have the ball we have some good passing and some good moving. There were some quality balls around the front and Steve Guinan was very rarely on his own when we were attacking.
"It is, as I said, the base that we work from the wide positions and the subtle change we made tonight was to ask Ashley Vincent to come in from the right side and Devaney from the left. We want Ashley to get alongside Steve more often and we did see him do that more often than Martin. JJ Melligan also has that ability and that license from me to go beyond Finnigan and McCann and move forward. Steve Guinan deserved his goal tonight.
"We've got two nice results. No-one will talk about the shape being negative because we've just scored four goals with it. We're getting a bit more measured with our football and I'm pleased with that."
Latest | October 2004