COX, BRISCOE, HOWELL, JEZ GEORGE REACTION
audio interviews with Cox, Briscoe and Howell
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"They put in a performance today. I thought the first 20 minutes they were a little bit wobbly.
"But then after 20 minutes we really did settle down and we got our shape back.
"In the second half we were thoroughly professional and we played some great stuff."
Mansfield boss Paul Cox happy as players repay his faith with Cambridge win
PAUL Cox was delighted to see his faith in his starting XI pay off today as Mansfield Town bounced back to beat Cambridge 3-1 at home.
Cox decided to send out an unchanged team, despite them flopping 2-0 at Newport in midweek for which he criticised them for dropping their standards, and he said: “The players know I was disappointed we let our standards slip on Tuesday. But I kept the same team, and the lads shoved it back down my throat again today which I enjoy.
“It wasn't for the faint-hearted early on. I thought Cambridge came out really strongly and put us on the back foot. After 15-20 minutes it could have been 2-2 or even 3-3.
“But, when we had settled down, we finished the first half well and had some great chances. Alan Marriott has made a couple of good saves and we've had one or two chances kicked away from their line. I don't know how they kept some of them out.
“Then the second half was a purely professional performance.
“That is becoming a hard pitch to play on and I think they played it better then we did for the first 20 minutes.
Cambridge director of football Jez George said: “What is said behind closed doors, stays behind closed doors. But Richard Money (head coach) is fuming over our defending.
“We are conceding too many goals and, if you concede goals, you don't win games.
“Sometimes the players have got to take a look at themselves and take responsibility.
“When we played football, we looked quite dangerous. But we didn't defend well. You have to defend what the opposition throw at you and we haven't done that.
“The 11 players out there today were more than good enough to get a result in this league.”
Mansfield Town look to bolster squad to help get them over the line
MANSFIELD Town boss Paul Cox will sit down with chairman John Radford this week to look at bolstering the squad to ensure fatigue does not cost them promotion this season. The Stags got back to winning ways on Saturday, when they beat Cambridge United 3-1 at the One Call Stadium and the three points were all the more vital as many of their promotion rivals also won. The Stags are three points off the play-offs, and only eight off top spot with games in hand and now face 17 matches in the space of just nine weeks. Cox said: "What I want to do is make sure we are not running on empty at any stage. We are going to be playing Saturday and Tuesday from now on and pitches are going to be heavy. "I will sit down with the chairman this week and have a look at it. I don't want to miss out because fatigue and the games have caught up with us. I want to make sure we plan for every eventuality." He added: "More importantly the lads who are on the bench and sat in stands are also going to get that opportunity and what I want to see is a great attitude and a hunger and desire to keep their place."
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Duo react to win
Winger Louis Briscoe is pleased with the work ethic that we showed in our win over Cambridge United at One Call Stadium earlier today.
The 24-year-old produced an outstanding display on the right flank, as we recorded our third successive home victory against a determined U's side.
He said: “The work ethic pleased me. Everyone work hard today and the pressure was on us to put things right [after Tuesday's defeat at Newport] and we have.
“The goals we scored and the work-rate we showed was good. I think the difference was that we were more clinical and did more when in possession.
“If we carry our form into the next 17 games, we've a good chance of the title, let alone the play-offs.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Anthony Howell, who scooped the 'Man of the Match' award, was also delighted with the three points.
He said: “It was a great three points today. I thought we were comfortable as a team to go and win the game, after we got the second.”
In regards to his 'Man of the Match' award, Howell added: “It's always nice to be recognised for what I do on the pitch. The win was for the fans as much as us.”
Our next game is against Hyde at Ewen Fields on Tuesday (kick-off 7.45pm
Stags man of the match Anthony Howell appreciates fans' praise after Cambridge win
ANTHONY Howell clutched his man of the match Champagne after yesterday's 3-1 home win over Cambridge United and admitted that had probably been his best performance of the season so far.
In cloying midfield mud, Howell was the powerful engine behind this win and was very happy to get an ovation from the home fans on the announcement of his award, a home crowd that have often been on his back in the past.
“I went over and clapped the fans at the end. It is always nice to be appreciated when everyone recognises what I have done on the field,” he smiled.
“It is probably my best spell of the season. I feel comfortable out there and I am enjoying it, which I showing in my game.
“It was important we got three points today after the disappointment at Newport in midweek. We needed to pick up and that's what we did. We rolled our sleeves up and got the win.
“Now we must keep it going until the end of the season and I hope I can keep my shirt until then.”
Boss Paul Cox said: “I have always maintained, even though I have had some stick at times, that Anthony is an excellent player. He has matured and got better and at 25/26, there is more to come from him. He is such an athlete in the middle of the park and deserves the man of the match.”
Howell's award just pipped a great showing by Louis Briscoe, who added: “Anthony deserved it today.
“He has been one of the players who has taken things by the scruff of the neck and dragged us through some results.
“No one got near him today and he broke up everything Cambridge had to offer as well as showing some great passing.”
Briscoe added: “Today's win was all down to our work ethic. We all worked hard for each other. I enjoyed it today. It's been a while since I kicked the ball past someone and ran.
“If we can carry on our winning ratio from the last 10 games into the last 17 we still have a great chance of the title, let alone the play-offs.”
Howell and Cox relishing Mansfield Town's three-match road trip
AFTER seeking plenty of home comfort of late, it is time for Mansfield Town to hit the road once again.
Three victories in their last three matches at the One Call Stadium have helped their standing in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
But last Tuesday, they suffered a rare defeat when they went down 2-0 to Newport in south Wales.
However, Anthony Howell is drawing on all the positives as they eye three away matches in the space of eight days, starting at Hyde tonight, a team thumped 4-0 on their own patch by Kidderminster at the weekend.
Yes, there was defeat on the road last week but only after chalking up four consecutive away wins.
And the midfielder sees no reason why a similar run cannot be replicated against Hyde, Luton on Saturday and at Lincoln next Tuesday.
"We have three big away games now, three massive ones but we have to take it one at a time and concentrate on Hyde," said Howell.
"We are on a roll and they lost at the weekend but we have to give them the respect they deserve. It will not be an easy place to go.
"It was disappointing to lose the last one at Newport but you are going to lose some and hopefully we can push back on now and win our next three games, or at least collect a lot of points from them.
"It will be tricky and it is a potential banana skin. We have to get about them, match them physically and mentally and push on.
"We have goals all over the park at present which is good and (Matt) Greeny is up there working his socks off week in, week out.
"His work-rate probably goes unnoticed but not by us players, he is really doing a job up there.
"But when he is not scoring, others are popping up like Muzza (Adam Murray), Stevo (Lee Stevenson) and Colin Daniel. It is a potential goal feast for someone at present."
Howell is in superb form in the middle of midfield and picked up the champagne for his performance in Saturday's 3-1 victory against Cambridge United.
And he also got among the goals in the 8-1 demolition of Barrow and in the 5-0 win against Dartford.
But he says his own form is as much down to his team-mates as himself.
"I am only confident because I know I am playing with great players, they help make me blossom and as a team we are playing well," he said.
"I feel a lot more comfortable going out there in front of the fans and with the lads and that is showing in my game. I feel I am performing well and now I have to keep it going until the end of the season."
Manager Paul Cox is relishing three games away from north Nottinghamshire and knows it is a big chance to claw back the three-point gap to the play-offs and put themselves in a strong position.
He said: "If we are going to be successful, we have to be winning games whether they are home or away. There are no panic stations because we are playing away.
"We are capable of getting wins and just because we had a bad day at the office at Newport it does not mean we will be scared to go away from home.
"I want three wins. Whether we get them or not is a different matter but if we were to get three positive results it will put us in a brilliant position."
The Stags are on a run of five wins from their last six games and sit sixth on 50 points – just eight points off leaders Grimsby.
With 17 games to play, there are 51 points to battle it out for but Cox sees the winners this campaign finishing on a much lower total than normal.
Last season, Mansfield finished third with 89 points but Cox believes less than that will seal the championship – and automatic promotion.
He said: "I think the mid-80s will win it, there isn't a team running away with it.
"We have not set ourselves any targets in terms of overall points totals but we have looked at batches of games and spoken to the players about what they feel is realistic.
"We did it last season at this point and it worked and we have done it again. We will see how we go."
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Money fumes in silence after defeat
cambridge-news.co.uk, Written by Michael Vaughton
Richard Money opted to keep his own counsel after being left "fuming" by Cambridge United's defending in their 3-1 defeat at Mansfield on Saturday.
The U's head coach asked director of football Jez George to do the post-match interview in case he said something he later regretted.
The Stags' first two goals in the Blue Square Bet Premier clash – scored by Lee Stevenson and Luke Jones – came after the away side had several chances to clear the ball.
"We've had a chat in there and Richard's had a few words – he's fuming with the way we defended," said George.
"He's not happy with a lot about the performance and, as I probably needed to do sometimes when I was in his position, saying nothing sometimes is better because you can wake up and regret what you've said in public.
"What's said behind the closed doors of the dressing room stays in there and then it's back to work this week." Liam Hughes cancelled out Stevenson's opener at the One Call Stadium, but Jones' effort made it 2-1 at the break and Colin Daniel added a third 19 minutes from time.
"We played some good stuff in the first half and opened them up at times, but you've got to defend what they throw at you," said George.
"We know they're big, strong and direct. We didn't defend the first ball well enough, we never won enough headers, we dropped too deep, we didn't win enough second balls, and we let them get on top of us by pumping the ball forward and picking up the bits and pieces.
"You've got to stand up and be counted and be better than that, so that's what we're really disappointed with. We can all talk about the people that aren't here, injuries and people who are unavailable, but the 11 that went on the pitch were good enough to get a result."
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