MURRAY AND MICHAEL APPLETON REACTION
Murray: Factors affected our performance
mansfieldtown.net, 21st February 2015
Gaffer discusses defeat to Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/murray-factors-affected-our-performance-2287062.aspx#KJVG9Cu6LPJ7PGUG.99
Manager Adam Murray admits that our team were second best in today’s defeat to Oxford United, but believes it was a tough game due to a number of factors.
Two goals by Alex MacDonald and a spot-kick by Danny Hylton was enough for the U’s to leapfrog us in the Sky Bet League Two table with a 3-0 victory.
Nevertheless, it was our team’s fifth competitive game in 15 days - something which, along with playing on one of the largest playing surfaces in the division, was a reason for the defeat.
“We went out there today on possibly one of the biggest pitches in the league and I think we were treading water from the first minute,” said Murray.
“We’ve tried to re-energise and get the boys back up to speed over the last few days and we’ve had a lot of the lads from Tuesday night[‘s game against Luton Town] sitting on the treatment table and we’ve had to roll them out again today.
“We knew, as staff, that as a group we were up against it today and I think that’s how it looked. We looked like we didn’t have anything in us, we had no energy, we didn’t try to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and we paid the price for it.”
Our boss continued: “We weren’t an attacking threat today. In the last couple of games, we’ve had a lot of legs getting up to the frontmen and our wide boys have been really effective.
“Today, we didn’t give them [the widemen] the service, and then when it did get forward, we gave the ball away too easily, but I’m not going to get too down.
“It’s a game that I looked at during the period of games that we’re in and I knew it would be our toughest one.
Asked why this was our toughest game in a while, Murray said: “What happens is people look at the situation that Oxford are in and say ‘Oh, they’re down there, they can’t be a very good side,’ but I see through that.
“I see the players that Michael [Appleton, Oxford manager] has brought in and there are some top draw players.
“You don’t go to a top of the table team and buy one of the best wingers off them, if he’s not effective. He [George Baldock] showed today that he has an X factor and we haven’t got that.
“We have to give 200% every day, and in every game, to get something out of the game and today we didn’t do that.”
Murray cites fatigue for injury-hit Mansfield’s tame capitulation at Oxford
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
Although disappointed by today’s 3-0 defeat at his former club Oxford United, Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray admitted the exertions of his injury-hit squad over a busy February so far really caught up with them this afternoon.
Stags were well beaten and created little, but Murray was not about to jump on them, knowing there were players out there carrying injuries and tired legs.
Now, with no midweek game, he is hoping they can recharge their batteries ahead of Saturday’s visit of Dagenham & Redbridge.
After the game today, Murray said: “We were beaten by the better side on the day. No excuses - from the first minute we looked like a team on our last legs.
“We looked tired and didn’t get going. We didn’t have enough bravery on the ball. Every time we had possession we gave it away and we didn’t dictate play at all.
“I always had this game down as the toughest test in this period. It is what it is and we move on to the next one and go again next week.
“I understand totally why we lost like that. I know where we are as a team and as a football club at the minute.
“I expected a lot more. But we gave away two poor goals and a penalty.
“But let’s not lose sight of the fact these boys have given 200 per cent in the last couple of games and run through brick walls. They couldn’t do that today.
“It’s not excuses. I am just up front with the truth. In the last three days we have had lads in the treatment room and I have had to just roll them out again this morning. So we were always going to be up against it. We just have to get our chins up and go again.”
He added: “A lot of it is down to fatigue. It’s not an excuse, it’s a valid reason.
“We have had two really tough weeks and all the efforts the boys have put in in the last few games were there for everybody to see. You have seen the result of that today.
“We haven’t the biggest of squads to be able to freshen it up to play at the tempo we want to play at.”
Murray was happy with the debut of loanee Brighton winger Jeffrey Monakana, but service to him was poor all afternoon.
“He did okay and showed glimpses of what he is about,” said Murray. “But we didn’t give him enough ball. Today was one of the worst I’ve seen with us in possession. But I am sure Jeffrey will be productive for the team.
“Hopefully over the next week we can recoup and get some energy back. I hope we will get a couple of bodies back from injury and the boys can refocus and go again.
“I am sure no one expected us to make the play-offs after we beat Luton. I didn’t get carried away by the highs of Tuesday and I won’t get too down over the lows of today.
“We are awful away. If I knew why then we wouldn’t be awful away. This team is where it is because of days like today. It is going to take a lot of work but it will come.
“We need to work harder and we need to be better organised and show better discipline away from home.
“We were erratic in some of our decision-making. The pitch surface was poor yet we kept testing Lenny Pidgeley out with backpasses for 90 minutes.
“I have already drawn the line under this one.”
Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"We went out there today and looked liked we were treading water from the first minute.
"I'm not going to get down today because I looked at the run of fixtures we had and I knew this would be our toughest one.
"We knew as a group we were going to be up against it, and it looked like we had no energy and didn't grab the game by the scruff of the neck and we paid the price for it."
Appleton hails MacDonald impact
Michael Appleton acknowledged the impact Alex MacDonald has made after his first goals helped Oxford to a 3-0 win over Mansfield.
It was a vital three points for Oxford, their first win in six home games, and enabled them to leapfrog the Stags in the bottom half of League Two where a host of clubs are looking anxiously over their shoulders at the relegation places.
MacDonald, who was promotion-chasing Burton Albion's top scorer, before joining Oxford during the January transfer wndow, struck in the 31st and 54th minutes in a comfortable victory.
United's leading scorer Danny Hylton added a third goal from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute after fellow striker Patrick Hoban was fouled by Ryan Tafazolli.
Oxford head coach Appleton said: "Alex has got goals in him, we knew that from his time at Burton. His second goal was a fantastic finish.
"He's an infectious character around the dressing room too, so it's been great to get him in."
Appleton believed United's forward power was the telling factor in the end, though he was not impressed with Hylton handling the ball when he was already on a booking.
He substituted him a minute later.
"These were a very important three points for us," Appleton said. "There was a real focus about the players this week in training.
"It wasn't pretty, but that was understandable looking at the poor quality of the pitch. We prepared all week on not getting bogged down in the midfield.
"I think the players in the final third for us showed their quality.
"But Danny Hylton was very fortunate not to get another booking and sent off for that handball. It wasn't the brightest things to do, and once we saw the incident we got him off straight away."
Danny Hylton accepts he was lucky to escape red card
DANNY Hylton admitted he was lucky to avoid a red card for a moment of madness against Mansfield Town.
Oxford United’s top-scorer made it 15 goals for his season from the penalty spot to secure a 3-0 win at the Kassam Stadium.
But the forward’s afternoon almost soured when, already on a booking, he handled the ball in a challenge with Stags goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley.
Hylton, who was substituted seconds later, struggled to explain his actions.
He said: “I thought I was going to get there to head it over the keeper and I just couldn’t stop myself.
“It sounds stupid, but sometimes you see people get booked for it.
“Straight away I knew it was silly.
“It was a bit fortunate, but I didn’t think my first booking deserved it, I caught him, but I had no idea he was there.
“But over the course of the season I’ve been booked when I don’t think I should have, so it evens itself out.”
United’s No 10 has taken the side’s penalties all season, but needed to stand his ground after Alex MacDonald, who had scored the first two goals, offered to take the spot-kick.
The discussion was brief, though, especially given Hylton had scored just once in his ten previous appearances.
He said: “Macca was entitled to ask, he was on a hat-trick, but I just said ‘I need a goal’.
“Skipper (Jake Wright) and a few of the other lads came over and said ‘you’re the penalty-taker, you take it’.
“It’s a great feeling, there’s nothing better than winning.”
Ryan Tafazolli @RyanTafazolli
Debated giving me a red card for the cleanest tackle I've ever made, gave a penalty when I haven't even touched him. Keeper elbowed for 1st.
Latest | February 2015