HOLDSWORTH AND LUTON REACTION
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Stags must learn their lessons
DAVID Holdsworth insists Mansfield Town must learn the lessons from their crushing defeat at Luton Town last night.
Despite taking the lead through Scott Garner, they were outclassed in the second half as they lost 4-1 and both teams were reduced to ten men.
"I felt we gave them too much space and gave them too much respect and it's a harsh lesson," said Holdsworth.
"We must take responsibility and perform at that level if we are to compete.
"They are a very good side, with a strong squad, and I am not taking that away from them or Mick Harford.
"But we have some good players here at Mansfield. Luton did what we try to do to other teams and it is not very nice to be on the receiving end.
"They are a young team but it doesn't matter whether you are old or young, if you give space to people of quality and high standards, they will dominate.
"There are lessons for some of our players to learn and some will find out when I make my selection for Saturday."
Holdsworth was disappointed to see the Stags concede twice from set pieces, something they have worked hard on in pre-season.
He said: "It was the little things that cost us and two set pieces have hurt me and the players. I felt we were well in the game and didn't look like we were going to concede.
"To concede from two set pieces isn't like us at all. It is really strange, but people have put their hands up in the dressing room and we move on.
"I am not going to criticise the players too much – that will stay in-house. But people know they need to step up."
Holdsworth philosophical after lesson at Luton
CHAD, By John Lomas
STAGS boss David Holdsworth refused to be too downhearted after Tuesday night's 4-1 defeat at classy Luton Town.
But he threatened to make changes for Saturdays' trip to Salisbury after certain players fell short of the standards he expected of them against a powerful Luton side who had six players unavailable, but still looked like potential table-toppers.
"It seems we've been whipped with that scoreline, but it was the little things that cost us tonight," he said after a heavy defeat just three days after that fine opening day hammering of Crawley.
"They scored two set pieces, which really hurt me and the players as it's not like us, then an own goal and a penalty.
"But we were well in the game – no problem whatsoever and didn't really look like we were going to concede.
"I thought our midfield gave them too much space in the first half and sat too deep.
"I won't criticise players too much, we will keep that in house.
"Players have put their hands up in the dressing room and taken responsibility for mistakes and acknowledged they have got to step up."
He added: "Luton dominated the wide areas and we gave Burgess too much space.
"In contrast we didn't see enough of our wide players.
"I think we respected them too much. If the scoreline flattered them then so be it, they still got the three points.
"It was a harsh lesson for our players about taking responsibility.
"They are a very good side – take nothing away from them. There are not many teams like that in this division.
"They kept the ball better than us so credit where it's due."
Saturday's two-goal hero Kyle Perry became villain as he scored an own goal and then gave away a penalty towards the end of a fiery match which also saw both sides lose a player to a red card.
Holdsworth said: "Kyle gave the penalty away in frustration. He is very committed but it was slack to give that away.
"And for the own goal he was trying to do a defensive job and it was a good ball into a defensive area.
"Luton did to us tonight what we try to do to other teams and it's not nice to be on the end of it as Crawley found out.
"We are still a young side bedding in and have to learn. It doesn't matter if you are young or old, if you don't close down players of a high standard, they will punish you.
"I think we missed Gary Mills tonight and he has no chance for Saturday. Matt Somner sat too deep.
"We have to be better as players will find out on Saturday if they are picked or not."
Jones: Stags must sort out set pieces
evening post, August 15, 2009
STAND-IN captain Luke Jones is determined Mansfield Town will quickly rectify the problems they encountered defending set pieces at Luton.
The Stags conceded the first two goals from dead ball situations in the 4-1 defeat – both scored by George Pilkington.
Jones believes that owes much to the fact Mansfield are a new-look side still finding their feet.
But he insists they cannot be so generous for long as the Blue Square Premier kicks into top gear.
"The first two goals at Luton were a big disappointment for me, especially as a defender because I take it personally," said Jones.
"It is something we have looked to work on in the days that have followed and we continue to work on it."
Struggling to replicate home form on away trips is not a new problem for Jones, who arrived this summer from Kidderminster, who struggled at times on the road.
And today's opponents Salisbury have won their first two games of the new campaign and have yet to concede a goal.
"I think every team in this division has something to offer," he said.
"But we have to econcentrate on our own performance."
Town's hard work on the training ground pays off
Coach Kevin Watson was delighted that all of the Hatters' hard work on the training ground reaped its rewards in the 4-1 defeat of Mansfield Town on Tuesday night.
Hours spent drilling set-pieces paid off at Kenilworth Road as Luton scored twice from them as well as limiting the Stags' chances from dead ball situations.
He said: "We worked on set-pieces for and against and we know teams in this division and throughout the world know set-pieces win and lose you games.
"We knew they were a big side and we were not such a big side.
"On the whole I think that was their threat – set-pieces. We nullified that second half because we had so much of the ball."
And Watson was also thrilled with the way Town performed in open play, saying: "It's so pleasing they are trying it out on the pitch and what we worked on is coming to fruition.
"We know a lot of teams are going to come here and sit back and we know we need to be patient. There will be no Liam Hatch for a while and we need to play our way into the box.
"I think it's going to be quite often this year that teams are going to sit back and not show much ambition.
"When we did shift it and did pass it we looked leagues apart.
"It could have been frustrating but we got back level and there was only going to be one winner.
"I think that sends out a message to the rest of the division most certainly.
"I'm sure they will be looking for our results week in week out.
"It was a fantastic turnout from the crowd and a fabulous atmosphere and the boys responded in a first class way."
But he admitted the referee maybe struggled to maintain a grip on the game, saying: "No disrespect to the referee the lower down you go the lower the standard of officials you get."
Watson was also mightily impressed with Freddie Murray, who made his debut for Town just hours after signing on a six-month loan deal from Grays Athletic.
He said: "I thought he was outstanding tonight. He has literally come in and met the lads an hour and a half before the game. I was surprised he lasted for as long as he did and with the quality he showed. He is quick and he is strong and his passing, especially into Tom Craddock and Kevin Gallen, was first class.
"I think the longer we can keep him the better to be honest."
Veteran striker Gallen was also delighted with Luton's support, although admitted the players could feel the tension.
He said: "We've got to be patient. There was a lot of tension from the crowd but we have got to believe in what we are doing. It worked for us in the end.
"I'm pleased for the fans because it was a good crowd there and they sang well and it was a good atmosphere.
"I'm sure the Mansfield players relished coming here."
And the 33-year-old admitted he is feeling the effects of games even more these days, adding: "I felt like 45 at the end, but Tom is a good player. As you get older obviously you need young legs around you. I can get the ball and they can do the running and I can do passing."
Latest | August 2009