Stags' boss won't let standards drop
mansfieldtown.net, 17th August 2015
Stags’ manager Adam Murray has made it clear to his players that he won’t accept a ‘lull’ in performances at Accrington Stanley tomorrow night following Friday’s win against Notts County.
Murray’s men travel to the Wham Stadium tomorrow night (7.45pm) looking for back-to-back wins..
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The gaffer said both the win and the performance pleased him on Friday night, but won't accept a slip in standards against Stanley tomorrow night.
Speaking at a news conference this morning, Murray said: “It’s one of the annoying aspects of the game that you can put in a performance like we did on Friday and then the next game you often see a lull.
“The lads were made aware on Saturday morning that it was good to get points on the board [against Notts County on Friday], it was good to get a performance but the focus goes to Accrington straight away and I want another performance of that tempo and that intensity and we want to put more points on the board.
“We know that going to Accrington away on Tuesday night is a tough fixture; they need to put points on the board and they’re a good team. We’ve watched them the last two games and they have a lot of attacking threats and if we’re not on our mettle then we’ll get found out.
“We’ll be planning for them today and we’ll be working on bits and bobs and we’ll go there wanting to carry on our good form.”
Ahead of another season, Stanley have been tipped by some as one of the favourites to be relegated, however, Murray believes that the Lancashire club are better than people give them credit for: “I think it’s just a myth with them now [that they will be amongst the relegation contenders] and I imagine that John [Coleman, Accrington Stanley manager] gets a bit fed up with it now because they’re a very good team. They’ve got some good players and they play an attacking style of football.
“They have a lot of threats and if you go there in the wrong frame of mind then you’ll get caught out. I think we showed last year for 45 minutes we pinned them in and should have been two or three up. Jamie McGuire scored and then we took a backward step. If you do that there you get found out because they play at a tempo, they come out the blocks, so we’re going to have to be on it even more than we were on Friday.”
The fantastic atmosphere created by the Stags’ fans on Friday night drove the players on, but Murray says tomorrow will be a different type of game in which his players will need to be professional.
“In some ways it’s a little bit easier to play in the 'big games' because the atmosphere drives you.
"I believe we’ve put a squad together this year that’s professional, that’s disciplined and it carries a whole heap of focus so we’ve got to go there and do a professional job tomorrow.
“It’s not about the atmosphere, it’s not about going in to an environment where there’s ten thousand [fans]. It’s about going in there, getting the job done and getting out.”
Murray confirmed that Scott Shearer missed Friday’s game with a virus which has affected his ankle, but was pleased with the performance of his replacement, 40-year-old Brian Jensen.
“He's [Scott Shearer] picked up some kind of virus that’s affected his ankle. His ankle’s 'blown up', he hasn’t got anything ‘injury-wise,’ he’s just a little bit sore because of the swelling so we’ll assess him this morning and we hope he’ll be okay.
“I don’t think we could’ve asked for anyone better to come in and to fill the shoes [than Brian Jensen]. It’s always the case at the start of the season, and it’s the way the game is. People read in to things and over-read things. Brian’s come in as a goalkeeper coach but if he does get the shirt, good luck trying to get it back because he’s a professional.
“Brian and 'Shears' (Scott Shearer) have got an unbelievable relationship where they’re good mates and they push each other every day on the training ground. They’ve both got unbelievable bags of experience and ability so now it’s a headache for me because we’ve got two top-class ‘keepers.
“On Friday night, having Brian going in to that occasion, I think it was massive for the back four. It helped settle them down and compose them and I think he made some super decisions.”
Some positive news on the injury front is that defender Lee Collins (right) is approaching fitness again after missing the first two weeks of the season with a foot injury, Murray said.
“He’s had a few weeks rest now and it’s good news. We gave him last week off totally; he was doing his own gym work and it saved him travelling in and putting pressure on the foot but he feels great.
“The tricky bit for me now is that I’ve had two centre-halves who have been unbelievable, but what a great situation to have, having someone of Lee Collins’ calibre coming back in to the fold.”
“But at the minute, he’s going to have to fight for his shirt because the performances that the two centre-halves have put in so far have been superb, so it’s up to them now to keep up that consistency, focus and drive.”
Going into more detail on the Krystian Pearce/Ryan Tafazolli pairing, Murray admitted that senior players have been impressed by the pair’s commanding nature. “The most pleasing thing for me is that Jamie McGuire said to me after the game that when he went on, they didn’t shut up.
“He said he’d never heard anything like it; they were constantly communicating, telling people what to do and leading people. If they both carry that on, and it is a challenge for people to get that consistency, then Lee is going to struggle to get back in the team.”
Murray is pleased with the versatility of his squad as he can approach certain games with a different game-plan without needing to have an overly large squad. “We’re happy with the squad we’ve got. The recruitment we did, we allowed for people to play in different roles and different positions.
“We’ve got a lot of tools in our armoury this season and if we do what we did Friday and we stick to our game-plan and do the basics right then we’ll be a good team this year. I love the fact that people have written us off already because it gives you a hunger to go and put it up people’s backsides.
“The tight group we’ve got, I really like, because everybody knows they’re going to be involved, everybody’s on the same page, everybody is working towards the same goal.
“Nobody feels left out and everybody wants to play, so you understand that and they understand that they’re going to get chances. So at the minute we’re happy with the squad and as it stands, there’s no view to bring anyone in.”
The gaffer’s final word at this morning’s meeting with the press was for winger Matty Blair who is currently working his way back to full fitness.
“We’ve sat down with Matty and we’ve had some brief talks. I do believe that people are going to see a new and improved Matty Blair but like we did with Liam Hearn last year, we won’t throw him into the fire until he’s 100% ready to affect our team.
"He wants to stay, we want him to stay, he’s a few weeks away from being in the squad yet so there’s no rush.”
Adam Murray warns Mansfield Town - no ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’ at Accrington Stanley
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Monday 17 August 2015
Adam Murray has warned his players not to turn in an ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’ display at Accrington Stanley tomorrow night after Friday night’s superb 2-0 derby win at Notts County.
Goals by Chris Clements and Ryan Tafazolli capped an almost faultless display at Meadow Lane and the Stags manager said: “It was brilliant to get the result on Friday and the performance topped it off because we carried everything out to the letter.
“But it was still only three points and the lads will be let know in no uncertain terms this morning that I won’t accept a below-par performance tomorrow night because we’ve all seen it happen before that you go into big games and the next game you have a lull of performance. I won’t accept that, so it’s straight back down to earth with a bump this morning.
“You see these things happen in football and it’s one of the annoying aspects of the game that you can put in a performance like we did on Friday and then the next game you often see that lull.
“The lads were made aware on Saturday morning that it was good to put some points on the board and good to get a performance. I want another performance of that tempo and that intensity and I want to put more points on the board.
“We will go to Accrington with a game plan. We will look at their strengths and where we think we can nullify that and affect them and we have the tools for that game. We have a lot of tools in our armoury this season.
“If we do what we did Friday and do the basics right and stick to the game plan we will be a good team this year.”
He added: “I love the fact how some people have written us off already. It gives you a hunger to go and put it up people’s backsides.
“It was a good performance for the occasion on Friday. I felt we had to go there and do certain things and, to be fair to the boys, they stuck to the game plan to a tee.
“There are still a lot of things we can work on. We enjoyed the 45-minute bus journey home but then our focus was straight onto Accrington. We came back in Saturday morning for a cool-down, some of the boys worked, then we drove up to Morecambe to watch Accrington. So our focus was straight on Tuesday.
“We know that going away to Accrington on a Tuesday night is a tough fixture. They need to put points on the board and they are a good team.
“We’ve watched them the last few games and they have a lot of attacking threats. So if we’re not on our mettle we’ll get found out. So we will be planning for them today.
“We will be working on bits and bobs and we want to go there and carry on our good form.”
Every summer it seems Accrington are tipped for the drop, but defy the odds and already this season John Coleman’s side have come close to beating Luton Town (1-1) and Hull City in the cup (lost on penalties) before a 1-0 defeat Morecambe on Saturday.
“I think it’s just a myth with them now and I imagine John gets fed up with it down there as they are a very good team with some excellent players that play a real attacking style of football,” said Murray.
“They are a threat and if you go there in the wrong frame of mind, you get caught out.
“We showed last year, for 45 minutes we pinned them in and should have been two or three up, Jamie McGuire scored the only goal of his career, then we took a backward step and if you do that there you get found out.
“They play at a tempo and come out the blocks, so we are going to have to be on it even more than we were on Friday.
“We’ve got to be professional. In some way it’s a little bit easier to play in the big games because the atmosphere creates that energy that drives you.
“I believe we have put a squad together this year that is professional and disciplined and it carries a whole heap of focus.
“So we’ve got to go there and do a professional job tomorrow. It’s not about atmosphere or going into an environment where there is 10,000. It’s about getting a job done and getting out and that’s where our focus will be today.”
If keeper Scott Shearer is passed fit on his ankle problem, then Murray will need to decide between him and Brian Jensen, who came in and did so well on his debut on Friday.
Mansfield Town boost as Lee Collins shakes off foot injury
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Monday 17 August 2015
Mansfield Town were given a big boost with the news that summer signing Lee Collins has recovered from his foot injury.
But manager Adam Murray said that, with the form Ryan Tafazolli and Krystian Pearce have shown so far, there is no need to rush the former Northampton centre half into action.
“It’s good news on Lee,” said Murray. “He’s had a few weeks’ rest now. I thing we are going into our fourth week with him. I spoke to him over the weekend.
“We gave him last week off totally where he was doing his own gym work, saving him travelling in and putting pressure on the foot. But he feels great.
“If we were desperate to get him in we could probably do it this week. But, with the performances from the boys at the minute, particularly the centre halves, we are in no rush with him.
“So if it means taking an extra week to make sure he’s completely over the injury and we’re not going to risk him setting it back, then we will do that.
“He’s made great progress. We’ve spoken to the physios and they’ve done everything they can to get him to where he is and I think the treatment and recovery they’ve given him has sped up his healing process.
“The tricky bit now is that I’ve had two centre halves that have been unbelievable. What a great problem to have - someone of Lee Collins’ calibre coming back into the fold.
“But at the minute he’s going to have to fight for his shirt because the performances the two centre halves have put in so far this season have been superb.
“It’s up to them now to keep that consistency, that focus and drive, and the most pleasing thing for me is that people forget they are two young lads, to grown into that role and become leaders is part of their development as centre halves.
“I’ve spoken about it with them and Jamie (McGuire) said after the game (Friday) they didn’t shut up. He said when he went on he’d never heard anything like it. They were constantly communicating and telling people what to do and leading people. If they both carry that on, and it is a challenge for people to get that consistency, then Lee is going to struggle to get back into the team.”
Tafazolli, in particular, has caught the eye with the sort of commanding displays that brought interest in him from clubs at a higher level last January, as well as two goals this week in as many games.
“Ryan came in with a challenge this season,” said Murray “He has all the potential ability in the world. In seasons gone by, people have looked at him and gone - 7ft 8ins left-footed centre half, he is an asset.
“Taff is one of those people that needs to stay 100 per cent focused on his job and when he does that the sky is the limit for him. As soon as he takes his focus off and takes his foot off the pedal, instead of being an excellent centre half he becomes an average centre half.
“So he’s come in with a fire and a desire to say - this is my shirt. I am taking it and you’re not having it back. When he does that on a consistent basis, and anyone can do that for two, three, four games, the sky is the limit, the same as with a lot of our young players.
“When we put this squad together we knew we’d have players who could on and play at a high level. If they gain that consistency in performance then it’s up to them where their careers take them.”
Mansfield Town open talks with Matty Blair over new deal
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
Mansfield Town have opened up negotiations with injured winger Matty Blair about a new deal.
Blair, signed as a real ‘X-factor’ player at the turn of the year was quickly sidelined with a serious knee injury.
But he is now on the verge of fitness again and talks have opened, though boss Adam Murray stressed there was no rush
“We’ve sat down with Matty and we’ve had some brief talks,” he said.
“He is coming on leaps and bounds and I believe people are going to see a new and improved Matty Blair, but like we did with Liam Hearn last year, I won’t throw him into the fire until we are sure he is 100 per cent ready to affect our team.
“He wants to stay and we want him to stay. He is a few weeks away from being in the squad yet so there is no rush.”
Latest | August 2015