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FLITCROFT, MACDONALD, KEWELL REACTION
14th May 2018 21:41


Stags' boss takes honest look back on season
mansfieldtown.net, 5 May 2018

Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has promised to deliver a ‘promotion winning squad’ for the Mansfield Town faithful, speaking after today’s game in a frank look back on the season.

The curtain closed on Mansfield Town’s season this afternoon, ending with a 1-1 draw against Crawley Town at One Call Stadium.

Stags finished eighth in Sky Bet League Two, three points off the final play-off spot.

And the manager, speaking after the game, says he will bring solutions to the club ahead of next season, where he plans to ‘build’ a squad worthy of winning promotion..

“When I get this right, it [the team] will have all the ingredients of what a Mansfield Town supporter wants,” he said.

“It’ll be fit, it’ll be dynamic, it’ll be able to run harder than any other team. It will fight, out-think, and out-pass any other team. And that’s my promise to the Mansfield Town supporters.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2018/may/flitcroft-post-crawley/

“You can’t just throw money and expect it to work. This team has been built and it’s probably the most expensive team in the league. But I want hungry players, I want players who want to train every day to get better.

“I want players who want to go up to the Champ[ionship]. Not ex-Championship players who just want to pick up the money, I want players who want to play for Mansfield Town week-in, week-out and train hard.

“The way to get fit is challenge yourself every day, work hard every day and work hard away from the football club.

“That is what me and my staff will do all summer until I have built my team, with my methodology and in my spirit because what I have seen here is a group of supporters who want a team that’s committed, move the ball, are technically good, and that’s what I’ll deliver.

“They [the players] weren’t fit enough [when I arrived], that was absolutely clear. But I’ve seen a real change in mindset, and I’ve seen a real change from Saturday to Saturday when you can do lots of work on the training ground.

“It’s been a failed promotion season, and there’s obviously reasons, which I now understand. I will find those reasons and bring solutions in order to make this the best football team in the league.

“I think some players are on too much money at this football club. When I look at Accrington, and Wycombe to an extent, I look at the togetherness of the squad. There was a disharmony when I walked in here. There was a divided culture and there wasn’t a togetherness.

“Did I expect to walk into that? No. Have I tried to galvanise that? Yes. We’ve not been able to see games out so I need players who can do that.

“You can’t fluke promotion, you have to design it, you have to build it. We will design it and that’s what we are in the process of doing.”

The Stags’ boss also spoke of the squad he wants to take into next season, saying there are players he ‘loves’ working with at One Call Stadium, and that the hard work has already started ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.

“There are players I desperately want to work with and I’ve loved working with them. They have energised me in tough spells,” he added.

“The people who work for this football club are outstanding and they want it to do well. The supporters want it to be successful and I’ll bring success.

“There’s going to have to be trust both ways and I’ll earn that trust through miles and miles of hard work.

“It [the hard work] has already started. We’ve been planning as if we did get into the play-offs or get promoted so the work has already started.

“I’m meeting players, meeting agents non-stop. Football is my life and it’s my family’s life.

“Absolutely [it’s to early to talk about new signings]. We have testing next week for the players to see where they’re at and how many sessions they have to do over the course of the summer.

“The window has been cut short now, we have to be done by the start of the season, so it is a quicker process that it’s ever going to be and we have to be on top of that.”

The manager also looked back on what was a dominant performance by the Stags this afternoon, but one that saw many chances go begging for the home side.

“I can only really compare to what’s happened in my tenure. It [creating chances] is something that the lads have committed to in training.

“It’s quite similar to the Port Vale game where we created some absolutely brilliant openings and the quality of play and the way we kept cutting Crawley open and attacking them from all angles [was brilliant].

“Now we just have to go and get that second and third but I’m a stuck record now. It’s something I keep saying.

“You look at the promoted teams getting near to the 100-goal mark and it’s something that to get promoted you need to reach.

“I think it’s the story of the season that the team has not scored enough goals. We kept probing and the fight, desire and commitment that you ask [for] and want from the team [was there].

“It’s one of the best atmospheres I’ve been involved with. It was absolutely incredible. I’m gutted and disappointed [for the fans].”

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Flitcroft: Being more clinical is first priority after play-off failure
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 05 May 2018

Disappointed Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft vowed to end his side's Achilles heel of failing to put chances away next season after today's 1-1 home draw with Crawley saw their play-off hopes finally extinguished. Flitcroft said he needed to build a side that can score 100 goals after seeing his team batter Crawley with attack after attack but fail to beat them.

He said: “We created chance after chance and absolutely dominated every aspect. We out-fought them and out-passed them. But we just could not finish them off.

“We threw everything we could muster at Crawley. We created some absolutely brilliant openings and attacked them from all angles.

“But I'm a stuck record now. If we'd got a second it could have been an absolute onslaught and the floodgates would have opened. That's probably the best we've played, certainly at home.”

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/flitcroft-being-more-clinical-is-first-priority-after-play-off-failure-1-9151730

He said a promoted side needed to hit triple figures and have players from all departments contributing. “You look at teams that have got promoted and they've scored about 100 goals,” he said. “That's something you have to steer towards if you want promotion. I will make sure next season we start putting teams to the sword. You make sure everyone is chipping in.

“It's the story of the season. We've just not scored enough goals. “We kept probing and the fight, desire and commitment you ask for and the chairman, Carolyn and the fans want from their team was there.”

Meanwhile, Flitcroft thanked fans for the best atmosphere he has ever experienced in the game with Crawley and promised them the best side in the league next season. Flitcroft failed to get the Stags over the line for the play-offs after taking over for the last 12 games when Steve Evans walked out and said he had walked into a job with many problems.

He said problems included a divide in the dressing room, wages that were too high and players short on fitness.

After today's game he said: “That's one of the best atmospheres I have been involved in. “It was absolutely incredible. I am gutted and disappointed.

“But when I get this right and a build a team that looks like a Dave Flitcroft team it will have all the ingredients that a Mansfield Town supporter wants.

“It will be fit, it will be dynamic and they will be able to out-run, out-fight, out-pass and out-think other teams. That's what I promise fans I will build.

“I will make them the fittest team in the league. They will be a possession-based team that will be able to pass and move the ball and be technically good. That will be my team.”

He continued: “It will take hours and hours of going up and down motorways looking for players who want to fight for the shirt.”

Flitcroft had harsh words for the situation he walked into, saying: “You can't just throw money at something and expect it to work. “This team has been built and I think it's probably the most expensive team in the league. But I want hungry players who will train every day to get better and want to make it to the Championship.

“I don't want ex-Championship players who just want to pick up the money. “I want players that want to play for Mansfield Town week in week out.

“They were not fit enough when I came in - that was absolutely rock clear. It's something we had to work at and that was difficult the first two or three weeks with the run of games.

“But I've seen a real change and most of the group have committed to that. “The only way to get fit is to challenge yourself every day.”

He added: “You can't fluke promotion, you have to design it and build it on the training ground. “It's been a failed promotion season and there are obviously reasons.

“It was down to recruitment. Players are on too much money at this club. “When I look what Accrington have done, and Wycombe to an extent, there is a togetherness as a collective.

“When I walked into this club there was a disharmony in that dressing room. The players have told me that. There was a divide culture. I didn't expect to walk into that.

“I didn't realise what I was coming into but that will develop over the next couple of weeks when I get to grips with it. “I need players who can see games out.

“There are players here who I desperately want to work with and have loved working with them.”

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David Flitcroft vows to build 'a promotion winning squad' after Mansfield Town miss out on play-off spot after draw against Crawley
Flitcroft criticised the current dressing room's culture in his post-match comments

https://www.nottinghampost.com/sport/football/football-news/david-flitcroft-vows-build-a-1538377

Mansfield Town narrowly missed out on a League Two play-off place after failing to beat Crawley Town on the final day of the season.

In a game they had to win to extend their season, the Stags could only muster a 1-1 draw against Harry Kewell's side leaving them eighth in the table on 72 points.

Mansfield also had to rely on Coventry City or Lincoln losing o claim the final play-off space. Draws for both in their games against Yeovil and Morecambe respectively meant the curtain came down on their season in disappointing fashion.

Speaking after the game, Stags manager Flitcroft promised to form a 'promotion winning squad' after suggesting some of his players were earning too much money and the squad lacked 'togetherness'.

He said: "When I get this right, it (the team) will have all the ingredients of what a Mansfield Town supporter wants.

"You can’t just throw money and expect it to work. This team has been built and it’s probably the most expensive team in the league. But I want hungry players, I want players who want to train every day to get better.

"I think some players are on too much money at this football club. When I look at Accrington, and Wycombe to an extent, I look at the togetherness of the squad.

"There was a disharmony when I walked in here. There was a divided culture and there wasn’t a togetherness.

"Did I expect to walk into that? No. Have I tried to galvanise that? Yes. We’ve not been able to see games out so I need players who can do that.

"You can’t fluke promotion, you have to design it, you have to build it. We will design it and that’s what we are in the process of doing."

Mansfield didn't get off to the best start, conceding in the seventh minute to a Karlan Ahearne-Grant header.

The equaliser came from Kane Hemmings in the 63rd minute after heading home at the near post.

Hemmings was denied a second goal by the offside flag as the Stags were looking to develop on the equaliser and do all they could to try and secure a play-off spot - a goal that just did not come on the day.

Stags midfielder Alex MacDonald was buoyant that the club will succeed under Flitcroft next season.

He said: "We know the type of player and the type of team he (David Flitcroft) wants and I'm sure that he'll build that.

"Although we have fallen short (this season), it's an exciting time for Mansfield Town Football Club. We have a new training ground opening and a chairman who is driving it for the community.

"We're guilty of our own downfall at times and at the end of the day the table doesn't lie. We have to take our medicine and get better over the summer to come back next year all guns blazing."

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David Flitcroft told BBC Radio Nottingham's Jake Garner:
(on his two months in charge)
"I wasn't expecting to find what I found. It will all unravel itself over the next week or so. But we've got 8 central midfield players, we've got 4 right wingers, we've got 1 left winger, we've got 3 left backs, we've got 5 centre halves, 1 right back, and 5 strikers.
It's the biggest squad. I believe it's the most expensive squad. So when I look at that, that's where the problems are.
What I'll do - I'll make sure I balance that squad out.
I wasn't expecting to see what I saw when I first came in. But that's in the past.
I'll get a better balance in the team. We'll get more goals from wide areas, we'll get more assists from wide areas."

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Stags' midfielder predicts success next term
mansfieldtown.net, 5 May 2018

Stags' midfielder Alex MacDonald says that the club will succeed under manager David Flitcroft next season.

Stags' season came to a close today, as a 1-1 draw against Crawley Town at One Call Stadium was not enough to secure them a top-seven finish.

"We know the type of player and the type of team he [David Flitcroft] wants and I'm sure that he'll build that," he said.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2018/may/macdonald-post-crawley/

"We are all fully behind that and whatever the manager sees to do.

"Although we have fallen short [this season], it's an exciting time for Mansfield Town Football Club. We have a new training ground opening and a chairman who is driving it for the community.

"We need to improve on where we have come up short this year, and that's when we've drawn too many games and not taken our chances.

"We'll all go away and look back on the season as a whole and see where we can improve.

"It sort of summed us up this season where we've dominated games and come off drawing them, sometimes by giving sloppy goals away and many-a-time by not putting our chances away.

"We're guilty of our own downfall at times and at the end of the day the table doesn't lie. We have to take our medicine and get better over the summer to come back next year all guns blazing.

"It's frustrating really, to be in the position we were in and to finish off where we are gives an overriding feeling of frustration to be honest."

The midfielder also gave a reflection on the season as a whole, including his verdict on his performances over the course of the 2017/18 campaign.

"I try and do as much as I can every game, it's part of me and part of the player I am.

"I try to be as energetic as I can. Unfortunately today we just came up that little bit short.

"I have played well this year and feel like I've given it everything to try and get this club where we want to be. It's no good standing here and saying I was happy with my season personally because as a team we have come up short and that's the most upsetting thing.

"I had a dip in form for about five or six weeks where I feel I wasn't what I had been for the four or five months before that. It's a frustrating one for me but I felt like I picked up over the back end of the season.

"Individually I think I've done well but I'm disappointed in my form dropping.

"I'm going to spend some time with the family now, it's important to recharge the batteries. It's been a long, hard season for me personally. I've had to do a lot of things away from the football club to keep me where I am."

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Alex MacDonald's answers in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.

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MacDonald: Profligacy sums up our season
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 05 May 2018

Mansfield Town winger Alex MacDonald said the wealth of chances wasted in today's 1-1 home draw with Crawley Town summed up the whole campaign.

Stags only took one of their openings as their play-off hopes ended and MacDonald said: “That game summed us up massively this season.

“We have dominated games but come off drawing them, sometimes by giving a sloppy goal away, but many a time by not taking our chances.

Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/macdonald-profligacy-sums-up-our-season-1-9151766

“Unfortunately today we just came up that little bit short. “With the positions we've been in, we've created our own downfall at times. “At the end of the day the table doesn't lie and that's where we are. We have to take our medicine and try to get better over the summer then come back all guns blazing.” He added: “It's been a frustrating season to be in the positions we've been in in the league table and finish off where we are. “It's been frustrating for me personally. I feel like I've played well and given it everything to try to get this club where we want it to be. “I'd like to think there's more to come from me. I had a dip for five or six weeks where I didn't feel as good as I had been, which was disappointing. But I felt like I picked up towards the back end of the season. “I will get away and enjoy some time with my family now. It's important to get the feet up and recharge the batteries. It's been a long hard season. “We will all reflect on the season as a whole and where we can improve.” New boss David Flitcroft is expected to make big changes over the summer and MacDonald said: “We know the type of team he will build and the sort of players he wants and we are all fully behind whatever he does.”

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Crawley Town head coach Harry Kewell believes Reds should have clinched all three points at Mansfield
crawleyobserver.co.uk

Crawley Town head coach Harry Kewell praised his side for a 'fantastic' display in the opening exchanges but admitted they need to be more clinical in taking advantage of scoring chances. He believes Reds eased off and failed to make the most of opportunities which could have sealed them victory.

Kewell said: "We knew what Mansfield would bring to the game. We scored a beautiful goal and for the first 20/25 minutes we looked fantastic.

"I thought we stood back a bit deeper. We were gving the ball away in the middle third.

"If you do that against teams like this they will just bombard the box - they average 17 crosses per game and that's what they're good at.

Read more at: https://www.crawleyobserver.co.uk/news/crawley-town-head-coach-harry-kewell-believes-reds-should-have-clinched-all-three-points-at-mansfield-1-8488665

"We came out for the second half and had a wonderful opportunity. We need to capitalise on that and for me if we had scored that, the game is dead and buried.

"Then some decisions went against us which I thought were out of order. "We've still got to adapt in situations and take it on the chin and learn to counter-attack and turn our chances into goals." "It was a perfect goal and I thought everyone watching it would appreciate the style of play." Kewell praised Mansfield's attack, especially their goalscorer on the day, Kane Hemmings He said: "They did fantastic and Hemmings created so many chances for himself and others - on another day he could have had a hat-trick." Kewell praised goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin who enjoyed a brilliant display in only his second league appearance of the season.He said: "It was a great opportunity for Yusuf to play - Glenn (Morris) has been fantastic throughout the year. I thought he had a fantastic game!"

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LOMAS ON STAGS: Flitcroft revelations as inquest begins into season’s failure
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 08 May 2018

As we stand and survey the smouldering wreckage of a season that promised so much, it would seem all was not as rosy in the Mansfield Town garden as we thought. From some of his post-match comments, it would seem new boss David Flitcroft has a lot he wants to say about the state of the club when he took over. It would appear he has kept his counsel and bitten his lip while trying to get them over the line, but has now begun to reveal some of the issues he was shocked to find on accepting the job. Hopefully he will sit down with the media very soon and have a full and frank discussion on the issues as fans want to know. Proud to be your local, independent tyre experts. Need new tyres? Meet your trusted, local experts. Promoted by HIQ His post-match interview on Saturday was his most revealing yet. With Stags on a decent run and in the race for a top three place when he took over, Flitcroft would have expected to walk in and help them over the line. Instead, he said he had found a dressing room that was ‘divided’, a set of players that were not fully fit and hinted that some appeared to be over-paid and ‘picking up the money’ rather than showing hunger to fight for the shirt. It will be very revealing when he announces his retained list as to who comes into that category. But, if what Steve Evans had put together had major flaws, it was still working to an extent and with just 12 games to go, Flitcroft’s attempts at making things better ended up making them worse. It was just too big a change of environment and attitude at a crucial time of the season. But, as a manager, your instincts tell you what needs to be done and all Flitcroft did was try to improve the situation he found himself in and do the right things. If he’d done nothing and the team had failed he would have blamed himself for not following his gut instincts. As it was, his tinkering with the style of play and trying to get players fitter did not bring him the desired results in the end. But they were so, so close in almost every game. They played some excellent football and created an absolute wealth of chances over the 12 games under the new regime and the manager cannot be blamed for failing to put those chances away. There was plenty of finishing practice and one-to-one coaching sessions - all the players praise and acknowledge how meticulous he has been. Only the away game at Forest Green and the first half at home to Crewe were poor displays. We will never know if Evans would have got them over the line. I believe he would have done but, once he chose to walk out at such a crucial stage, it completely undermined the project and no amount of Flitcroft ‘sticking plasters’ could save it. Flitcroft will certainly be able to better implement his own ideas across a full pre-season and bring in some of his own choice of players. What sort of budget he gets from the Radford family will be interesting but, having had their fingers burned so badly this season after huge investment, it’s unlikely to be as much as Evans had at his disposal. From Flitcroft’s comments on Saturday he won’t need a budget that size anyway. He wants to work with hungry, up-and-coming players and the incentive-based contract signed by CJ Hamilton two weeks ago gives another strong hint of how he works. Disappointed fans are certainly in for another fascinating summer as they watch players come and go and wait to have their appetites whetted once again.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/lomas-on-stags-flitcroft-revelations-as-inquest-begins-into-season-s-failure-1-9153647

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