CLOUGH AND MICHAEL DUFF REACTION
We gave everything - manager
mansfieldtown.net, Sunday 10th January 2021
Boss Nigel Clough says his players gave ‘everything’ in this afternoon’s Emirates FA Cup third round clash away at Cheltenham Town.
Extra time was needed to separate the sides after Stephen McLaughlin’s early opener was cancelled out by Alfie May.
A Will Boyle goal late in the second period of extra time was enough to see the Robins progress, but the Mansfield manager was left proud of the endeavour on display from his men.
“We’re very disappointed to be out of the FA Cup,” he told iFollow Stags. “To put so much effort in and battle as much as we did today, I don’t think we could’ve given any more.
“We threw our bodies on the line, got blocks in, and were 1-0 up for a large period of the game.
“To concede in the manner that we did, it was extremely disappointing. We have been starting games well and got the goal we deserved.
“I thought they pinned us back [after the opening goal], and we got away with one or two in our box. But generally speaking, we dealt with the majority that they threw at us.
“I thought the two centre-halves [Ryan Sweeney and Farrend Rawson] were excellent today.
“To go to extra time, you then think penalties are looming. But one of the most frustrating things about it [Cheltenham winner] was there was a foul on George Lapslie leading up to it, then when we cleared the ball, it wasn’t their throw.
“We didn’t get the ball down and play anywhere near as much as we did in the last few games. But give credit to them, they were swarming all over us and made it difficult to play.
“When you get that early goal, you want to defend it and look after it, and it’s the effort and the spirit that shone through for me.
“If you’re going to lose, you give everything, and we did that.”
The Stags were without captain Ollie Clarke (knee) and defender James Perch (illness) this afternoon, and the boss says their absence was felt in today’s performance.
“I thought we missed him [Ollie Clarke] and the experience of James Perch in this sort of environment,” he added.
“We missed them both and it was a blow losing them. He [Clarke] is 50-50 for Wednesday so there was no way he could’ve played [today].
“There was no way we could’ve taken him today, he was injured, so it’s as simple as that.
“Another few days and we may have had Kellan [Gordon] and Nicky Maynard available, so it left us a little short in areas.
“But despite that, we were so close to knocking out fourth in the league.”
Nigel Clough also looked ahead to Wednesday’s Sky Bet League Two fixture, away at Oldham Athletic.
“I hope they [players] take from it what we do, in terms of the spirit and everything that we showed today.
“We’re going to have to show that in all of the remaining league games, starting on Wednesday night at Oldham.
“There will be no excuses for fatigue or anything like that. We’ve played extra time, it does take it out of you, but I hope that everyone will recover enough for Wednesday night.
“We’re quite optimistic that Kellan Gordon and Nicky Maynard should be fit for Wednesday. We’ll see how Ollie Clarke and Perchy [James Perch] go, and obviously Tyrese Sinclair is still self-isolating.
“We could have three or four back for Wednesday.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Nigel Clough’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Mansfield manager Nigel Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"I thought we gave absolutely everything - scrapping, battling, dealing with everything they threw at us, I thought to a man we were excellent.
"We should have played a little bit more when we'd got ourselves ahead but in the second half we were looking relatively comfortable.
"Unfortunately we made a mistake in the centre circle, gave the ball away and they went and scored."
Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:
"It's worth quite a lot of money and it gives us another opportunity to hopefully get a plum tie.
"But I thought we deserved the win, it looked like it was going to be one of those days again where I don't know how many shots we've had today, but we've probably not made the keeper work enough.
"The amount of chances we've been creating someone does need to put their hand up and start putting the ball in the back of the net, there's no doubt about that, but the worry would be if we're not creating any chances."
"That result means so much to a lot of people" - Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff after the FA Cup win over Mansfield Town
gloucestershirelive.co.uk, By Jon Palmer
How big a victory is that for Cheltenham Town Football Club?
It definitely helps in terms of getting a win and obviously the financial side of it as well, I think it's worth quite a lot of money and it gives us another opportunity to hopefully get a plum tie. I thought it was going to be one of those days again. I don't know how many shots we've had today, but we've not made the goalkeeper work enough, but without being brilliant, we were disappointed with the goal we gave away. We talked all week about how they start games quickly, so just to turn it around for the first five minutes and we start trying to play in a silly area. That was frustrating because we'd warned the lads, but they boys got themselves out of a hole. It was a collective effort and I think we used 16 players today. It was a big win.
How mentally difficult is it as a player when you are having a day when things aren't quite falling for you despite quite a few half chances?
It's not even today and I think it's probably been going on for a month now. The amount of chances we've been creating, someone needs to put their hand up and put the ball in the back of the net, there is no doubt about that. But the worry would be if we are not creating any chances. Barrow aside, we have drawn 0-0 with Salford in this run, we had good chances against Bolton and Colchester. Ironically, against Exeter we scored everything so we have to keep believing, working and working and I am a firm believer that hard work pays you back and we earned that little bit of luck today because I think it was more than due.
It is a case of taking more time in the penalty area. Why do you think the ball hasn't been going into the net?
It's just a little bit of luck sometimes and I've just watched the Crawley goals on TV. Nadesan has hit a shot, the keeper has made a mistake and they've had another one ricochet straight to their lad. The amount of times the ball has dropped to one of them today and not us. We have worked on making cleaner movements in better areas, better balls and better runs. You just have to keep going and no point moping around feeling sorry for yourselves. We could have done that easily today. After the first three minutes, I thought we dominated the game. We could have been a bit cleaner in what we did with our passing.
A real moment of Alfie May quality to bring you back to level terms
Yes, he has that in him, Alfie. His reaction probably shows you how frustrated he's been getting because things haven't quite been dropping for him. It was a real moment of quality to get us back in the game and the reaction from everyone with the celebration, it was a lot of relief. A lot of hard work had gone into the game up to that point, with nothing to show from it. That probably showed with the elation in the celebration.
After 90 minutes, how confident were you going into extra-time?
One thing that probably did help us is that we've had a 10-day break and they've played Saturday-Tuesday the last few weeks, which is tough. Their home pitch is also very heavy and then they have to come to us and play extra-time. On that, I will mention Conor Thomas who hasn't played for six or seven weeks, so to come through 120 minutes, was an unbelievable effort and shows you the type of pro that he is with how he looks after himself.
How is Chris Hussey?
He took a kick on the top of his foot and he actually struggled to get his boot off, it was that swollen. It's an impact, which is positive normally as they are normally not as long as muscle tears, but it doesn't look good right now.
A lot of celebrations from the directors' box, will you be going in there and asking for some of the money?
I will be going in there asking for a beer first! I always go up to the board room after every game, which isn't always easy after you've lost. It means a lot to a lot of people, obviously. The players are fully aware of the supporters at home cheering them on, my phone is going mental at the minute with well wishes. The other day I said every pound in is worth five or six, but it's probably worth 10. If you look at the club losing £1 million in 12 months, it's really welcome. I will knock on the door and ask for money. They are within their rights to say no because I don't know the ins and outs of where we're at. I will spend what I'm given, but I won't be moaning. Mansfield are an in-form team at the minute, but I thought we dominated them. We have enough within the group. Yes we want to freshen it up and today will help with that, but it won't be the be all and end all - the club surviving is the most important thing.
Josh Griffiths may feel he could have done better with the goal but how important was the save in extra-time at 1-1 from Jamie Reid?
I have not seen the goal back or spoken to him about it, but I think it's come through quite a few bodies so I am not sure how much of it he saw. But the save he made, he is 6ft 7in, so to get down like he did, was brilliant. It's a long way to get down there. He's grown and grown in terms of his presence. He's been working on his big boot, old school out of his hands and their lad heads it out for a throw-in because it's so hard to head. It's something he's trying to add in. He's been magnificent all season. One mistake against Grimsby, but to come back how he has, we are really pleased with him.
The long throw-in pays off again after a few decoys during the match
We looked a real threat from set plays today and mixed it up. If you just launch it into the box, they set up for that and we moved them around a little bit and almost take their mind off it. We threw a few to Alex (Addai) who is good with his back to players and it makes sure it stays in the penalty area. We had a corner routine when Alfie air kicked it, seven yards out and he just needs a contact on it. We got Huss in around the back on an early corner. It's something we worked on and we looked a threat, not just by launching it into the box. Players get tired and someone has probably switched off for the Boylo (Will Boyle) goal and he's definitely a threat in the air.
How pleased were you with Alex Addai's impact after returning from his loan spell at Maidenhead United?
It probably encapsulates what Alex is. Sometimes he drives you mad because his shape's not right. But he can do things other people can't and we probably have missed him in the last couple of weeks. You have to give up certain things to get what he does. One thing he does is terrorise. Left-backs seeing him coming on will be thinking 'oh no'. We tweaked the shape and it sounds wise after the event, but we needed to score a goal, so we kept Blairy (Matty Blair) on as an attacking full-back. We took Rags off because Boylo is a threat in the air and Toze can throw it. I am really pleased for Alex, who wanted to go and get some minutes and he still looked a bit short of match fitness. But he'll be better for that and it's why we have him, everyone has a role to play.
What was it like in the dressing room after the final whistle?
It was more relief. I give them two or three minutes so if there were any mad celebrations, I always miss that bit. I get together with the staff and pick out things from the game. It's relief because of the effort they put in. Mansfield will be disappointed because they put in an unbelievable shift as well. Unfortunately someone has to lose. Relief they got the reward I think their effort deserved today.