McEWAN AND CLOUGH REACTION
audio interview with Billy McEwan from BBC Radio Nottingham with David Jackson, and audio interview with Nigel Clough from BBC Radio Derby, here a
Time to bolster fading Stags?
CHAD.co.uk, By John Lomas
BILLY McEwan admitted he may have to bring in new faces to freshen up his fast-fading squad after their fourth defeat in five games at Burton Albion on Monday night.
"Now it's time to get them in - we need competition and the challenge," said the Stags manager, whose side have won just once in seven matches after the televised 1-0 defeat. "Players have got to be looking over their shoulder.
"I have had to stick with this group of players so far as they had done well for me. But we have now hit a dip and I have money in the coffers.
"The thing is can these players rise above it and battle? They need to roll their sleeves up. Some of them tonight need to show more desire than that."
Stags are now 11th - six points off the play-off spots and already nine points from the one automatic promotion spot
That will worsen when they have the four points taken off them for playing ineligible players and they will be just two points above a drop zone in which the bottom four are relegated.
McEwan continued: "At least we did keep battling tonight and I thought we deserved something out of the game. But we just have to lick our wounds.
"We huffed and puffed and had decent situations in the final third to do better from. But the final ball lacked that killer instinct and it is tough at the moment.
"There was too much pussyfooting around when we should have got early balls in.
"There is always a defining moment in a game and to concede so close to half time was disappointing, especially as I had the lad McGrath (match winner John) at York and told the players exactly what he could do.
"It was the responsibility of my midfield players as we were three against two and he should not have got a shot in, though it was a good strike.
"Goals change games and that gave Burton a lift and one or two of our side's heads went down. But we still had a late chance which was put wide.
"We have shown at Ebbsfleet and Salisbury that we can come from behind. This is a real test for the players now. It is a situation we have to rectify.
He added: "I always knew it was going to be tough. We did well in the first 12 games and people started getting carried away and saying we were going to do this and do that - but you never heard me say that. I knew we had a lot of tough games ahead against the likes of Stevenage and Burton.
"Having said that we could have won the games against Woking and Stevenage but we were robbed by two diabolical penalty decisions.
"Tonight again another penalty decision did not go for us and it's tough to take."
Brewers boss Nigel Clough said; "I though Mansfield caused us a lot of problems tonight.
"People have to remember Billy threw this team together in five or six weeks - and we have played against worse sides than that this season!
"It was a typically tight local derby and Mansfield had magnificent support which made a great atmosphere.
"They gave Jake Buxton a lot of stick and I though he was very mature for a 23-year-old and his heading tonight was the best since he came here.
"We got our first home clean sheet but had to work very hard for it. They put us under a lot of pressure.
"I didn't think it was a penalty (when Nathan Arnold went down). It was one of those - first time it looked a penalty but the referee was in a good position and there was no contact at all."
Former Swansea City reserve keeper David Knight signed forms with Stags today with the aim of proving himself worth a deal and was on the bench.
"He has come in for us to have a look at him," said McEwan. "We only had a young keeper on our bench who had a bit of an injury so we have brought David in and it's up to him. If he does okay we will keep him here."
Moses: Stags still looking up, rather than down
Most Blue Square Premier League tables in newspapers, programmes and on internet sites still show Mansfield Town in 11th place with 21 points, despite their four-point deduction earlier this month.
Not until 14 days have expired from the original hearing, during which time Mansfield could appeal (although they will not), will their tally be officially reduced.
But club skipper Adie Moses feels the delay gives a false impression of where the Stags stand.
He is only too aware that, realistically, they are just two points above the drop zone on 17, with four teams going down at this level.
Had Mansfield's form been good since they received notification of the docking, then they would still be in a mid-table position.
Unfortunately for them, it has coincided with their worst run of the season - three consecutive defeats to Woking, Stevenage and Burton Albion.
It has been frustrating for Moses that something out of the playing staff's hands has adversely affected their season.
But, equally, he knows it is they who now have to raise their game after the recent downturn in results.
The central defender is hoping he and his team-mates will turn over a new leaf against Wrexham at Field Mill this afternoon - the club who were relegated along with the Stags.
"We know the seriousness of the situation and where we are in the league with the deduction, but we have to get back to how we were at the start of the season," said Moses. "We have a lot of hard work to do.
"We are looking above not over our shoulders at the moment, because we still have time to get up there.
"I believe we have got a good squad and we are disappointed how things have gone of late.
"But it is a must-win game for us today - we have to get some points in the bag. A good result breeds confidence
"Wrexham have not had it all their own way at this level like us. It just proves it is not easy in this league because already they've had a change of manager.
"Our away form has been disappointing with just the one win, but our home form is still pretty good.
"We expect to win every week. That is not being big-headed but trying to be positive and trying to get on a winning run quickly."
From a personal point of view, Moses is just happy to get back out on the field after missing two games with a calf injury.
He had to go off at half-time in the 3-2 win at Salisbury and sat out the defeats at home to Woking and at Stevenage.
However, the former Barnsley man was back at Burton on Monday and was content with his own contribution, if not the 1-0 loss.
He said: "I was really happy with how I played in my first game back.
"I didn't feel anything and I didn't even think about it once the game got under way, so it was no problem.
"I didn't think there was too much in the game at Burton but the lad has pulled out a good strike for their goal.
"We were also a bit disappointed at the other end because we didn't play that well going forward and didn't create enough."
Moses knows there is no magic wand to finding solutions to Stags' problems and that the answer is likely to come from hard graft on the training pitch.
"It is hard to put a finger on why we are not creating chances," said Moses.
"It's hard to fathom because we were scoring goals for fun at the start of the season.
"We have tried to change the formation a little bit but maybe we are going to have to work a little more on that if that's how we decide to play.
"It is also frustrating because we are working really hard to try to keep clean sheets we need but have not been getting them.
"What you do have to do is get something out of the tight games, which aren't going our way."
Moses: Stags have the players to stop the rot
Skipper Adie Moses today admitted Mansfield Town fans' frustrations are justified - but is convinced the current squad can turn things round.After a promising start, things have turned sour for the Stags in the last couple of weeks.
A four-point deduction and four defeats in five have seen Mansfield slide down the table after briefly topping the Blue Square Premier.
Moses acknowledges the performances as well as results have been disappointing but he remains convinced there is enough ability in the camp to put an end to the bad run.
"Things aren't going our way but we can't use that as an excuse and you can appreciate why the fans are upset," said Moses.
"No supporters like to see their team lose. They want to see us playing good football, creating chances and winning.
"We, as players, are just as disappointed because we want to do well too.
"We know we have the quality. We have some good exciting young players and those who can score goals.
"But I do think we are confident of turning it around. There would be a big problem if we weren't."
Moses knows the importance of Saturday's home clash with Wrexham, who were relegated with the Stags from League Two at the end of last season.
He feels a win over the Welshman could kick-start Mansfield as they bid to climb back up the table.
Moses said: "It is a massive game for us against Wrexham. If we could get a win over them it would give us a big lift."
Clough sympathises with McEwan
Nigel Clough offered opposite number Billy McEwan some words of sympathy after his Burton side inflicted on Mansfield their fourth defeat in five matches.John McGrath's first goal of the season just before half-time was enough to give the Brewers a 1-0 win.
And it heaped more misery on the Stags, who are going through a tough patch where little is going right for them.
"We thought Mansfield did offer a threat and had us under pressure. It was a difficult, difficult game for us," said Clough.
"It was a typical local derby with not that many chances, but I think we deserved to win it.
"People have to understand that he (McEwan) had just five or six weeks to put his team together before the start of the season.
"They are competing and you can be assured we have played a lot worse teams this season.
"They had magnificent support here for this game and they have to ride it out."
Stags boss McEwan issues a warning to players
Mansfield Town players should fear for their places unless they buck up their ideas, manager Billy McEwan warned today.The Stags slipped to a third consecutive defeat and their fourth in five matches as they went down 1-0 at Burton Albion last night.
McEwan admitted the performance has made him think it might be the right time to bring in fresh blood.
And he insisted now is the time for those already on the playing staff to show they deserve to stay in his plans.
"It's now a test for a group of players who have now been together for 14 or 15 games," said McEwan.
"We have done ok in the first 12 of those but now we have not won in the last three and that is a situation we have to rectify.
"I have gone with the players and now we have had a dip.
"Whether they can rise above it we will have to see, but it is going to be a battle.
"There are a few who need to show more than they did against Burton - and they have been told.
"I have been keeping coffers in place for when the time is right. We know we can strengthen and now is the time.
"We need competition and the players have to be looking over their shoulders."
McEwan felt Mansfield not being awarded a penalty in the first half - when Nathan Arnold went down under Andy Corbett's challenge - was another example of their luck at the moment.
He said: "We have been on the tail-end of a couple of penalty decisions but this one hasn't been given for us. It is frustrating."
Mansfield have drafted in goalkeeper David Knight, 23, who has been a free agent and was previously with Swansea.
McEwan said: "If he does okay we will take him."
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