FLITCROFT AND NATHAN JONES REACTION
Stags' boss says 'match-winning moments' defined Luton clash
Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has said that 'match-winning' moments defined Monday's loss to Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.
Kane Hemmings gave Stags the lead in what was a superb first-half performance, but goals from James Collins and Glen Rea meant that the hosts left with all three points.
The manager explained that his side needs to be more clinical in front of goal, but added that he could not fault the effort that the Stags' players showed on the day.
“Reflecting on the 95 minutes of football that we’ve played here, not many teams would come here and cause the problems we caused,” he said.
“But if you’re not pristine in the match-winning moments then you’re going to undo all the hard work and the shifts that the lads have put in.
“That’s two performances now where the attitude and application [were positive], and the shift that the boys have put in - they gave each other everything.
“Some of the balls we put in were really good today whereas against Forest Green [in the last away game] our end product wasn’t that good.
“We worked the ball well and completely dominated them in the first-half. We put the ball in good areas but we have to finish our work off.”
The Stags’ manager emphasised further that his side must work on killing off games.
“There was a spirit about the performance and I saw a group of players that were trying to win a football match today.
“We created a chance just before that [half-time] when Mellis hit the bar, we were getting in and causing all sorts of problems. That was the game plan, to go and cause them problems.
“I think if it goes to 2-0 when Lee [Angol] has a chance then they wouldn’t come back from that.
“I’ve seen real signs from a team that are desperate to win football matches, and we’re going to have to put everything into the last six games.
“We’ve started to open teams up and create good chances but now we must work on killing teams off - that’s the ruthless edge that I plan to put into this team.”
Flitcroft added that his team are mentally prepared for the final six games of the season, and that the players are fighting to put points on the board for the Stags fans.
“There can’t be any errors of judgement,” he added. “We have to make sure we put teams to the sword. But it was a good performance from the boys.
“In the Accrington game and this game, we’ve got no points to show but there’s definitely a galvanised spirit in this group.
“We need to now pay the fans respect and get some points on the board for them. They’ve been outstanding over this Easter Weekend.
“They spent their hard-earned money coming in the stadium against Accrington and now they’ve travelled down here today. We have to start putting point on the board.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Flitcroft’s post-match interview in full by logging into http://www.mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Flitcroft: We have to learn to kill teams
chad.co.uk, Monday 02 April 2018
David Flitcroft felt his team's lack of ruthlessness at crucial times cost them the chance to take important points at Luton Town on Monday. The Stags lost 2-1 despite leading at the break thanks to Kane Hemmings' 12th goal of the season.
And with his side sitting just outside the play-off zone, Flitcroft, in assessing Monday's display, knows what's needed to get back into it.
He said: "Over the 90 minutes, not many teams will come here and give Luton the problems we have today. "It's those match-winning moments though where we've not helped ourselves. If you're not pristine in those then you run the risk of undoing all the hard work done and the shift put in.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/flitcroft-we-have-to-learn-to-kill-teams-off-1-9094349
"Whether it's a shot, the final ball, the end product - we're not killing teams off. Added to that, we probably didn't react quick enough when Conrad spilled the shot that led to their goal whereas their players did, and that can be the difference. "In the second-half we had chances to open them up and kill them off. We need to give everything to each other - when Lee Angol had a great chance it was their defenders that put everything on the line to get the ball clear and we have to be like that. "You're in control of what you do and it's what happens in both penalty areas that define you over a season, not how well you may or may not have played or even the effort put in." Flitcroft remains winless in his six-game spell as Stags boss but says he is now beginning to see signs that a corner is being turned. He said: "They're showing me signs of being a team that's desperate to win and that's what we have to show in the last six games of the season. "We need to cut out the errors and make sure those match-winning moments go our way. "If you put the game against Forest Green to one side, I've seen plenty in games like Notts County and even against the top sides like Accrington and Luton that enthuses me and that spirit is being galvanised. They're starting to play how I want, open teams up and create chances. Now it's about killing them off. "We've deserved more over Easter and the fans certainly have. They've been fantastic in spending their money on two games in quick succession and travelling down to support us here. They've got behind us and now we have to reward them by getting points on the board."
NATHAN HAILS TEAM AND GROUNDSTAFF AFTER MANSFIELD WIN!
Nathan Jones hailed his side - and the Kenilworth Road groundstaff - for coming from behind to record a “massive victory” over fellow promotion chasers Mansfield Town and equal last season’s points total of 77 points this afternoon.
The Hatters boss saw James Collins equalise Kane Hemmings’ opener just after the hour, before Glen Rea followed up Alan Sheehan’s free-kick ten minutes later to seal all three points and take a big step towards automatic promotion.
After the first goal, Collins raced to the home dugout to get injured team-mate Luke Berry’s No.18 shirt and hold it aloft to the fans - and the players carried it off the pitch with them at the end too having gone eight points above fourth-placed Exeter, who have a game in hand.
“It’s a massive victory,” said Jones. “I’m not going to play it down in any way. It wasn’t a must-win game, because there’s still five games to go - but it doesn’t half help. It was an absolutely massive game and a massive win against quality opposition.
“These are a big budget club with some real good players for the level, and especially after taking the lead against the run of play, we had to show a load of character.
“We had to show a load of real, real desire to win a football match - and we showed loads of quality as well. I thought they were wonderful from start to finish, but second half we were excellent.
“We’ve showed how much character we’ve got today, because to come out in the second half and play in the manner that we did was wonderful.
“I’m so proud of them, and so pleased for them as well because they’ve taken some knocks. They’ve taken a knock at the weekend with their mate getting injured, and he’s a big part of it. They love him here and once again we’ve shown the character and the quality. All of the characteristics that you need to get promoted, we’ve shown them today.”
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu returned to the side in Berry’s midfield role and turned in a man-of-the-match winning performance, setting up Collins’ equaliser with a surging run to the right byline and low cross.
“He needs to add that consistency to it, but we felt that they are a big powerful side and they press and run, and we’ve been a little bit lightweight in midfield in recent weeks,” said Jones. “We’re a wonderful football team but we’ve been a little bit lightweight, so we went positive with three strikers and the ones we played in midfield are good footballers who get on it.
“It was a wonderful performance from Pelly and he’s deserved that because he’s trained day in, day out, and he’s been left out recently - against Colchester he was actually left out of the squad, but we felt it was right to bring him and Alan McCormack back for today, so it’s proved right.”
Jones also made a point of signalling towards the ground staff, led by head groundsman Dickie Bird, as he came off the pitch which had taken an overnight soaking.
“He’s normally the prophet of doom, Dickie the head groundsman, and he rang me this morning early on and said ‘We’ve got a real problem here with the ground’,” added Jones.
“We wanted it on and they’ve worked tirelessly to get a pitch that was playable. It wasn’t ideal for how we play, but they worked so hard and a lot of credit goes to the four of them.
“They’ve grafted - Rog, Dickie, Dave and the young intern we’ve got - because they got the game on and today we sit there on 77 points, and that’s due in a big part to the work they’ve done.”
Luton chief talks up significance of Mansfield win
by MIKE SIMMONDS, dunstabletoday.co.uk
Luton boss Nathan Jones was eager not to downplay the importance of his side’s 2-1 victory over Mansfield Town yesterday afternoon. With 45 minutes to go, the Hatters were trailing 1-0 at Kenilworth Road, and with a number of their promotion rivals winning, it looked like their gap to fourth place could be almost gone. However, a superb second half performance saw James Collins equalise and then Glen Rea net the winner with his first goal of the season to ensure Town remain eight points in front of Exeter City with just five matches to go. Jones said: “I’m so pleased and it’s a big win, I’m not going to play down the win, it’s a big, big win. “The chasing pack all winning games, but we just have to make sure that we do our job and we did that, against a real difficult side and I’m pleased. “I don’t know how Wycombe are getting on, I don’t know how Exeter are getting on, all we can do is win our games and we’ve come through a real difficult run of fixtures, we really have. “The Colchester away game, on the whole we were the better side, it’s just the injury really rocked us I think and that was unfortunate. “But to bounce back and have a little kick in the goolies and then come back, showed a real, real character and we thoroughly deserved it, I’m convinced of that.” Even though Mansfield have been going through a dip of their own, with manager David Flitcroft not winning since he took over some six games ago now, Jones was had been wary of their opponents. However, he felt his side’s courage shone through on the day, as he added: “These are a good side, they’re not in great form at the minute, but these are a good side, with enough good players to win any football match at this level and I thought we were wonderful I really did. “We created some wonderful chances second half, Olly Lee had a chance we expect him to hit the target, he put it into the stands, Elliot Lee, has pulled off a wonderful save from the goalkeeper. "We’ve had a number of other opportunities in and around and I genuinely thought we were wonderful, I really do. "Look at the pitch, it’s heavy, it’s not conducive, you see Man City playing some wonderful football, but they play on bowling greens every week. "So for us to try and do it, shows a real bravery and I’m proud of them.”
Read more at: https://www.dunstabletoday.co.uk/sport/football/hatters/luton-chief-talks-up-significance-of-mansfield-win-1-8442117