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EVANS PRESS CONF 3 APRIL
10th April 2017 21:12


Boss believes in Stags' credentials
mansfieldtown.net, 3rd April 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans believes his side are still capable of finishing the season in the Sky Bet League Two top seven.

A controversial 97th-minute penalty saw Stags slip to defeat against Exeter City on Saturday, but we still occupy ninth position in Sky Bet League Two, four points outside the play-off positions.

And the gaffer feels that his side are good enough to win all of their six remaining League Two matches and subsequently secure a spot in the play-offs.

“I’ve never been defeatist; my glass has never been half-empty, it must always be full," the manager said.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/boss-believes-in-stags-credentials-3655635.aspx#ApI66OoAkBjO7tqX.99

“It must always be about positivity but the supporters should never forget: they didn’t expect in October and November to be having a fight for the play-offs. The reality is, the team that was left might have got relegated, that’s my professional opinion.

“I think we need to win four to be in the play-offs. Are we capable? We’re capable of winning six. If we play as we are, we’re capable of winning all the games.

“We’re not a team who’s hanging in there, trying to survive in the play-off group. We’re a team that’s in superb form and we’ve not killed teams when the opportunity has come to do it.”

As our under 21s have no fixture scheduled for this week, the boss says he will use the days before Saturday’s match away to Doncaster to keep his squad fresh ahead three games in the space of 10 days.

“We need to just [keep] concentration levels high, make sure people are fresh, make people ready and obviously some good work will go on the training ground, especially with people like Tafty (George Taft) to get him back up there for Saturday, and Kyle [Howkins].

“Whatever team we go with, we want to make sure we go to Doncaster Rovers and make sure we give a good account of ourselves because we know there’ll be a good crowd there.

“We’ll take a good support as well, the Stags’ fans have been tremendous. The more local they are, the more they turn up. They know we’re still fighting with a chance.

“Saturday was massively disappointing for all of us, but again the team gets a standing ovation - they knew their team didn’t deserve what they got on Saturday, we’ve had that in a few games now.”

The former Leeds United manager has said goalkeeper Scott Shearer is still struggling with a virus and the medical staff will know more about striker Pat Hoban’s knee injury later in the week. Meanwhile, he also provided an update on striker Yoann Arquin and right-back Hayden White, who were both omitted from Saturday’s matchday squad through injury.

“We’d like to think [Yoann] Arquin’s got a chance but we’ll give it right up until Thursday or Friday to work out about Hayden.

“Yoann was just suffering a little bit with his groin. He should be back on the grass by Wednesday/Thursday and if he is, and he trains properly for two or three days, then he comes in to contention.

“[Hayden White’s] just feeling the top of his hamstring. You know what hamstrings are like, it’ll be the player that normally decides when he’s back and when he can step up.”

“Hayden will be up at 70, 80, 90 percent by Wednesday or Thursday but it’s whether he feels in his head if he can go to 100 [percent]. That decision will probably be taken on Friday.

Supporters will be able to view Steve Evans’ news conference, in full, later today on Stags PlayerHD.

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Evans slams ‘worst’ refereeing display he has ever suffered
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 03 April 2017

Mansfield Town’s Steve Evans today described some of match referee Ben Toner’s performance on Saturday as the worst he’s ever experienced as a manager. Exeter City won the game 2-1 via a controversial penalty in the seventh added minute which Stags felt was a dive, but Evans said there were even worse decisions earlier on. He said: “If Ollie Watkins or Reuben Reid bends one in the top bag in the 97th minute, or even a scramble-inner, you go - well they’ve come and done a job on us. Then you can respect it. The penalty row goes on - click HERE to read “I look at the match referee and I am really disappointed with his performance. That’s not changed today. “Often I come in on a Monday and I’ve got a different view on the referee when I’ve thought they were poor on a Saturday - and these referees know because I speak to them. “I can’t speak to this referee - I am still so disappointed.” Evans stressed that, as angry as he was about the late penalty, even worse had gone before that. “That’s not the decision in the 97th minute - that’s just a poor decision. He has got sucked in,” he said. “But the first 25 minutes on Saturday was the worst refereeing performance I have ever seen against any of my teams. “That’s hard to say when you’ve got 800-900 games under your belt as a manager. “But it was the worst I have seen against my team and I felt for players. “The fourth official had the most empathy with me that any fourth official has ever had.” Danny Rose suffered more than most, including an arm across his face from Troy Brown that went unpunished to the anger of the home fans as decision after decision seemed to go Exeter’s way. “Let’s be honest, he’s got smashed by a forearm right in his face and it’s a straight red card,” said Evans. “We’ve looked at it from four or five different angles and the referee didn’t even give a free kick. He said he didn’t see anything. “If that’s the level we are in a sad place. We are in an awful place in League Two if that’s the case. “I spoke to the head of referees on Saturday evening - he is a good man David Allison. He said he would look at the clips and when he called me on Sunday he said he’d got some sympathy. “He doesn’t tell every manager he’s got some sympathy as he’s got some really good officials. “I think Danny was left checking if his nose was still in the same place as it was most likely it might have been moved. “Thankfully he got up from that. I’ve seen players not get up from that. I have seen people get their jaws wired up and their noses broken. It was an horrendous challenge. But the referee doesn’t see it - I am surprised none of the other officials saw it either. “It looked a straight arm to us. But you go with the referee during the game. When we came in after the game, we’ve got our analyst upstairs with videos from a high vantage point and cameras from all angles and we just feel terrible about it.”

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/evans-slams-worst-refereeing-display-he-has-ever-suffered-1-8473282

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Evans stays convinced Reid penalty was a dive
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 03 April 2017

The war of words continued today as Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans maintained his accusation that Reuben Reid dived for Exeter City’s winning penalty on Saturday. The Stags manager has had all weekend to look back at the controversial moment that earned play-off rivals Exeter City an unlikely 2-1 win at the death. But, having studied different angles, Evans maintained his original view, despite Reid arguing back it was a stonewall penalty and Evans was ‘delusional’. “Young Reuben Reid knows me and I know him - I love the kid to bits,” said Evans. Click HERE to read Saturday’s story on Evans’ accusation Click HERE to read Rueben Reid’s reply Click HERE to see the penalty incident and make your own mind up “Is he a good player? Yes. Is he one of the best strikers in the league? Yes. Did he dive? Yes. “That’s Monday, different angles, different views. He’s got his team a late win by it “I sat and had a drink with their manager afterwards and we both put it on the screen and Paul Tisdale had a little smile on his face. He didn’t comment - just a little smile. “We both knew what that little smile meant. I’ve had those little smiles at times when that’s happened for my team. You don’t condone it. I am sure he doesn’t. “Reuben will say there was contact. I read his words. “Delusional Reuben? Do you want me to send you the video from behind you? That’s delusional!” Evans continued: “I think you have to look at all parts of the game to have an informed judgement. 48 hours later you can have different takes on things, but the commonality is still the same. “For 70-75 minutes we were terrific. But you always expect a team as good away from home or as good in general as what Exeter are to have a part to play in the game - and they did late on. “That gets them an equaliser when we switch off. I think young Ben Whiteman was tired and switched off for a runner. “In the second half we had enough chances to go 2-0 in front - but to lose it in the circumstances we did, nothing changes from what I said on Saturday. “I have gone away and looked at different angles available and my eyesight at the time was right.”

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/evans-stays-convinced-reid-penalty-was-a-dive-1-8473206

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Coulthirst defended after angering home crowd
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 03 April 2017

Steve Evans had sympathy with striker Shaq Coulthirst after he suffered a barrage of anger from Mansfield Town supporters for taking the ball into the corner in added time on Saturday just before Exeter City’s late winner. Striker Coulthirst could have fed the ball to Rhys Bennett, who was in support behind him, but went the other way, failing to win a corner, and the crowd quickly let him know how they felt. However manager Evans defended his player’s actions, saying: “I just don’t think he saw Rhys Bennett coming. “He took it into the corner and didn’t get his head up sharp enough. “If we want to criticise players in the 94th/95th minute for not seeing a pass when they are physically and mentally drained, it’s quite tough. “Shaq will be disappointed. It goes for a goalkick when he knows he should have rolled him in. “But he didn’t see him. If he had, he would have given it him.”

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/coulthirst-defended-after-angering-home-crowd-1-8474840

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Evans delighted with Taft comeback
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 03 April 2017

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans was delighted with centre half George Taft’s return to action on Saturday. The 6ft 5ins defender had been out injured since September but a surprise return against Exeter last weekend saw him turn in a magnificent first half before his lack of match fitness caught up with him after the break. “I thought he was brilliant,” said Evans. “The big man said he was good at half-time but we knew he was hanging a bit late on in the first half. “At the start of the second half you’ve seen him miss a simple little header and run out of position. That’s just your head and your body are not communicating as one. “There is a lot of desire and commitment that you head is telling you, but it’s telling you five seconds too late. You make runs when you shouldn’t. So we had to get him off.” With just six games to go Mansfield now have five players competing for the two central defender shirts with Krystian Pearce looking to be first choice and Taft and Kyle Howkins battling for the other while Rhys Bennett is covering for the injured Hayden White at right back. “I don’t think Kyle (Howkins) did anything wrong when he came on in his place. He did his job,” added Evans.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/evans-delighted-with-taft-comeback-1-8474844

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Rovers’ big day the perfect platform for Stags to bounce back
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 03 April 2017

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans believes Saturday’s mouthwatering derby at champions-elect Doncaster Rovers is the perfect game to lift his players to keep their play-off hopes alive. Saturday’s controversial stoppage time 2-1 home defeat by play-off rivals Exeter City was a kick in the teeth for Mansfield, leaving them four points adrift with just six games to go and heads down. But on Saturday a sell-out crowd will watch Rovers try to pick up the two points they need for promotion and Evans said: “If you need the manager to motivate you to go and play in a game of that magnitude you may as well give the game up and go and work in a supermarket. “They’re going to have a party. They are fighting hard to get promotion and we’re going to face the best team in the league. “They were unfortunate not to go up with that 5-1 demolition of Grimsby on Saturday. It could have been eight or 10 when I watched it. That tells you the size of the task we’ve got there. “It’s going to be tough. But we’ve no need to lift the players for going away to the league leaders. We know we have to get some points.” Evans said he still believes Stags can finish in the top seven. “I have always said we need to go to the league leaders still in with a chance and if we are four or five points within Luton Town when Luton come here the weekend after, that would really please me,” he said. “I think we need to win four to be in the play-offs. But we are capable of winning all six if we play as we are doing. “We won our last six games in a row at Rotherham to get promotion there and I think we were sitting in a similar position. “I have never been defeatist. My glass has never been half empty. “It must always be full. It must always be about positivity.” He added: “The supporters should never forget, they didn’t expect in October/November to be having a fight for the play-offs. “The reality is this team might have got relegated. That’s my professional opinion. We have made it more of a promotion fight. “We are far from being right. If people think I’m happy where we are in key areas all over the pitch, I’m not. But there is only so much surgery you can do in January.”

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/rovers-big-day-the-perfect-platform-for-stags-to-bounce-back-on-1-8475609

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Mansfield players rest up for final push
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 03 April 2017

Mansfield Town will try to rest their weary squad as much as possible this week as they prepare for the final six-game thrust, starting with three huge games in 10 days. A trip to leaders Doncaster Rovers this weekend is followed by Easter clashes with play-off rivals Wycombe Wanderers and Luton Town and manager Steve Evans said: “We are trying to make sure we recover people. “We have got three games in 10 days effectively coming when we get to Doncaster. It’s really tough for us. “We need to keep concentration levels high and make sure people are fresh. “We will get some good work done on the training ground for people like Tafty (George Taft) to get them back up there for Saturday. Whatever team we go with we want to make sure we go to Doncaster Rovers and give a good account of ourselves.” On the treatment table this week are Hayden White, Yoann Arquin, Scottt Shearer and Pat Hoban with only White likely to make the starting XI if he is fit in time. We’d like to think Arquin has got a chance and we’ll give it right up to Thursday/Friday with Hayden,” said Evans. “Yoann was just suffering a little bit with his groin. He should be back on the grass Wednesday/Thursday. If he is and trains properly for two or three days he comes into contention. “Hayden just felt the top of his hamstring and it will be the player that decides when he is back and can step up. “He will be up at 80/90 per cent by Thursday. It’s whether he feels in his head he can go to the 100. That decision will probably be taken on Friday. “It’s unlikely with Scott as he’s not quite right yet. Scott has been struggling a bit all over - his arms and his legs in general. Paddy we will see later in the week.”

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-players-rest-up-for-final-push-1-8475620

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Ferguson is one of the best, says Stags boss Evans
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 03 April 2017

Steve Evans was full of praise for opposite number Darren Ferguson’s achievements at Doncaster Rovers this season as the Stags prepare to try to delay the Yorkshire club’s promotion celebrations this Saturday. Ferguson looks set to take Rovers back up at the first time of asking and Evans admitted:“I said it back at Christmas time, and nothing changes, they have one of the best managers in the lower leagues. “He is someone I know reasonably well. I know what his teams are about - I come up against them enough. “But he has got wonderful players. His recruitment last summer was fantastic and a lot of their work done in getting results early season is the reason that they can be promoted on Saturday.” Despite last weekend’s 2-1 home setback against Exeter, the Stags have been in excellent form of late, but Evans said: “League tables and promotions and play-offs have never been dealt with on performances. Had they been, we’d have won every one of our last six or seven games. “We are not a team that’s hanging on in there, trying to survive in the play-off group. We are a team that’s in superb form but we’ve not killed teams when the opportunity has come to do it. We’ve switched off and it’s cost us defensively. “We have to forget about the Exeter game now and it’s about what we can do at Doncaster. We got sucker-punched and we have to move on.” A sell-out home crowd is expected for the big derby at the Keepmoat on Saturday, and Evans said: “We know there will be a good crowd there. “Doncaster fans are good people. They turn up and get behind their team. We just want to go there, work hard and see if we can get something. “We will take good support as well. Stags fans will be tremendous - the more local the games are the more they turn up. “They know we’re still in with a chance. Saturday was massively disappointing for all of us but, again, the team got a standing ovation. They knew their team didn’t deserve what they got again on Saturday.” If Mansfield are still to make the play-offs, Evans knows they will have to do it the hard way, saying: “Look at the next three games - you go to the champions-elect Doncaster, then you play Luton Town at home who I thought looked a promotion team pre-season at Bedford, then we go down Wycombe who will probably be having a last throw of the dice like ourselves. So they are tough. “But we have to get back to winning and we have to keep ourselves in contention all the way to the last three or four when people really squeak.”

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/ferguson-is-one-of-the-best-says-stags-boss-evans-1-8475622

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Opinion: Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans is bizzare to call Exeter City striker Reuben Reid a cheat
By David_Byrom, April 03, 2017, devonlive.com

Strangely enough, Saturday's last-minute penalty was the one of the few times Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans did not harangue the referee over a decision he had made.

Whether he was stunned into silence at Ben Toner's choice to award a penalty, biting his tongue until he looked at a replay of the decision (something that Toner would not have had the luxury of doing), or furious at his own side's meek defensive showing late on in the game, Evans was strangely subdued on the touchline when Toner blew his whistle.

It was in stark contrast to a man who seemed to spend the game with his arms permanently raised in anger at Toner, who, whilst inconsistent, did not have the nightmarish game that Evans was keen to portray him as having.

Indeed, even at 1-0 up at half-time, Evans went marching across to the referee to talk to him, rather than focussing on motivating his own team for the second half - maybe if he had done that, Reuben Reid would not have been in the position to give Exeter City the three points in the 97th minute.

I cannot understand why Reid would have dived in that situation and, even if he had, the City striker is a brutally honest player - as evidenced by him questioning whether Christy Pym's save moments prior to the penalty was as good as everyone made it out to be - so would not have defended himself as much as he did.

Read more: Mansfield Town 1 Exeter City 2: Match analysis - City show cool head under pressure once again

We have already seen Reid's post-match honesty this season when he admitted to punching the ball into the net against Stevenage, going as far as to apologise to the Boro side for doing so.

Of course, it is a little more incendiary to admit to diving to win a last-gasp penalty against your play-off rivals, who led 1-0 for most of the game, but, at the same time, there was no need for Reid to go down where he did.

Reid is an experienced campaigner who can easily manufacture a chance to win a penalty, but that's not cheating, that's just clever play and the way he stole a march on Rhys Bennett was superb - he also had no reason to go down under Bennett's tackle, with David Wheeler and Ollie Watkins both waiting in front of goal for what would have been simple tap-ins.

Evans said he had seen a replay post-match and that it was clear Reid had cheated, which, unless he had the luxury of an alternative angle, is a bizarre claim to make. On the official highlights provided by Mansfield, the camera is on the far side of the pitch to where the incident takes place and are, at best, inconclusive - it looks like there is contact between the two players, in which case Reid was more than entitled to go down.

For me, Evans is clearly trying to deflect blame away from his side's poor performance in the last 15 minutes of the game. If the Stags want to get into the play-offs, they need to start looking closer to home following defeats.

Read more at http://www.devonlive.com/opinion-mansfield-town-boss-steve-evans-is-bizzare-to-call-exeter-city-striker-reuben-reid-a-cheat/story-30245674-detail/story.html#cRa919xKbBaB2269.99

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