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24th February 2021 22:31

Quality in final third the difference - manager
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 20th February 2021

Boss Nigel Clough says ‘ruthlessness’ was the difference between the sides in today’s 3-0 defeat to league leaders Cambridge United.

After a well-contested first-half at One Call Stadium, three goals in the second period subjected the Stags to defeat against Mark Bonner’s table-topping U’s.

The Mansfield manager expressed his belief that the 3-0 scoreline was ‘harsh’ on his side.

“I thought it was a bit harsh [on us] losing 3-0 - I didn’t think the scoreline reflected the nature of the game,” he told iFollow Stags.

“I think it reflected why Cambridge are where they are in the league, because there can be nothing in a game but all of a sudden they come out 3-0 winners.


“It caught up with us physically after the effort we put it against Bolton. I thought they [Cambridge] showed that absolute ruthless streak that they have, and we didn’t today.

“I thought the goals knocked the stuffing out of us. We talked about it being a good measure for us, and there wasn’t much between the two teams. I thought it was a very good League Two game.

“There were two teams trying to knock it about on a difficult surface, and we know we’re not too far off the standards that Cambridge are setting.

“All game we got into good areas, right up until injury time. We couldn’t produce that final cross - there’s not a lot dropping for us at the moment, but that will change.

“We have to do more to keep the ball out of our net and to get a goal as well.”

Two players who have emerged through the Stags’ youth system - Jason Law and Tyrese Sinclair - were introduced by Nigel Clough in the second-half. The boss explained his decision to introduce the two youngsters, adding: “There was a knock-on effect from Wednesday night [with Stephen Quinn] - he was touch-and-go whether he was going to play today.

“We’ve been wanting to get Jason Law on the pitch for the last few weeks. He’s done ever so well in training and he’s in with a shout of starting.

“You could see, even on the difficult surface, he can handle the ball. Technically, he’s a good player. It’s an ideal opportunity between now and the end of the season to get him, Tyrese and maybe one or two others some games.

“It’s just about getting them on at the right time. Ideally, you don’t want to be putting them on when you’re losing against top of the league, but [we said] ‘let’s see what you’ve got,’ as it was a difficult situation for them.”

There was also an injury update from the boss ahead of Tuesday’s game at Harrogate.

“It’s just a dead leg with Ollie Clarke - he’s strong as an ox so he should be okay. I think Stephen Quinn feels them a little more than Ollie Clarke does with the difference of the build.

“We’ll see how he [Quinn] is on Monday. I’m really looking forward to it [Harrogate game], despite the defeats this week.

“I think the performances haven’t been that bad, so hopefully we’ll get a break on Tuesday night.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.


"We've gone toe-to-toe with top of the league!" Mansfield Town didn't have the ruthlessness of Cambridge United, but Nigel Clough saw promising signs in 3-0 defeat
chad.co.uk, By Duncan Browne, Saturday 20th February 2021

The U's League two leaders left One Call Stadium with the points, but Clough doesn't believe the victory was as emphatic as the scoreline suggests.

"It was a little bit harsh on us, 3-0, certainly," he said.

"We've gone toe-to-toe with top of the league for most of the game and I'm really disappointed with the goals we've conceded.


"Their front three are as good as we've got in the league, we've seen that today and they've caused problems.

"The disappointing thing was the commitment in both penalty areas. We didn't really get in the right areas at the right time. They showed a ruthlessness we didn't."

Clough, however, believes the differences between his side and United aren't that vast.

"It's not a great deal judging by today. it was a very event game," he added.

"Difficult conditions but we went toe-to-toe with them.

"I'm hoping in 12 ,months time, less than that, it's us in that position, but you can see why they're top of the league.

"We matched them for long periods of the game today. I don't think they were that better in open play. We created as many chances a them, they just finsieh theirs."


Mansfield Town duo Sinclair and Law to get more chances - Clough
chad.co.uk, By Duncan Browne, Saturday 20th February 2021

Mansfield Town youngsters Jason Law and Tyrese Sinclair will be given more chances to impress this season.

Manager Nigel Clough gave the duo the thumbs up following Saturday's 3-0 home defeat to Cambridge United.

Law, 21, and 20-year-old Sinclair came off the bench and did enough to catch the eye of the manager.

"I was very pleased with Jason Law, and Tyrese as well when he came on," Clough said.


"It was good to give the young lads the opportunity and a few chances.

"They'll get that now until the end of the season."

Paul Mullin netted a second-half brace and Harvey Knibbs added a third in stoppage time to condemn the Stags to back-to-back defeats for the first time since early December, when they were beaten by Harrogate and then Cambridge.

There was little between the two rivals in a windswept Saturday at One call Stadium, although the U’s had that added bit of quality in both boxes that proved the difference.


Mark Bonner delighted with 'ruthless edge' shown by Cambridge United in League Two victory over Mansfield Town

Mark Bonner felt Cambridge United showed a “ruthless edge” to their finishing in the 3-0 victory at Mansfield Town.

The U’s struck three times in the second half of Saturday’s fixture to register a convincing win, with Paul Mullin netting a brace and Harvey Knibbs adding a third in stoppage time.

United returned to winning ways with their first victory in three matches, with the result keeping the U’s at the top of League Two on 52 points from 30 matches.

After an even first half, United took their chances after the break to secure their fourth away victory since the turn of the year.

“We used the moments that we had,” the head coach said.

“Scoring an early goal (in the second half) was good, it encourages you. Scoring the second goal was really important.


“I just loved our work ethic in the second half. When you got to two nil, and then you get to three, the flip becomes ‘right, we think the game’s won, now it’s about keeping a clean sheet’.

“There was a real organisation on set-plays, a resilience about us to say ‘come on, let’s keep that clean sheet as well’.

“There was a ruthless edge to us that we showed good conviction on the chances that we had.”

The U’s defeated a side who have been rejuvenated under manager Nigel Clough following his appointment in November.

United inflicted a fifth defeat on the Stags since the new boss took charge, which was 21 games ago.

Whilst the U’s had a week of training in the build-up to the game, Mansfield suffered two setbacks in their games over the past week.

The Stags conceded in the 89th minute in a 2-2 draw at Colchester United on Sunday, before conceding three goals in the final 12 minutes to lose 3-2 at home to Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday.

“I think we’ve probably got them at the right time because they’ve had a really busy week, and that’s probably caught up with them,” Bonner added.

“You have to take advantage of those situations and we have done, which is great.

“We knew we were going to have to defend for periods of the game against a good side, and we played some good football on a really tricky surface.

“Keeping a clean sheet in the second half was a big aim of ours, but we felt as the game went on, we might be able to take advantage of the fact that they’ve had the week that they’ve had.

“We’ve had an excellent week on the training ground, and today (Saturday) is a combination of all that work.

“Delighted with the performance, delighted with the attitude, and obviously really pleased with the result.”

League Two top goalscorer Mullin took his tally to 22 league goals for the season with his second half brace.

Strike partner Joe Ironside proved a handful for Mansfield’s backline throughout the game, whilst Knibbs rounded off his cameo appearance from the bench with a goal.

Bonner was delighted with the contribution from all three of his forwards.

“I thought he took the goals really well. He just continues to be in those moments and score those chances that we’re creating,” the head coach said of Mullin.

“We’re delighted with that, and really pleased for Knibbsy (Harvey Knibbs), he’s had a great week.

“He’s scored two in the reserve game on Tuesday, he’s trained well, he’s biding his time and waiting for his moments, so delighted with him.

“The other striker among them was outstanding (Joe Ironside). Exactly what you want from a number nine. He basically got beat up for everybody else.

“We love him and love what he gives us, and I thought he was outstanding today Joe.”


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