Cox on season's expectations
mansfieldtown.net, 21st October 2013
Manager Paul Cox discussed expectation levels during his pre-match press conference, ahead of our trip to Bury tomorrow night.
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Our team travel to Gigg Lane, sitting on the fringes of the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off zone, with just over a quarter of the campaign played.
“I think we’ve been victims of our own success in the early parts of the season,” said Cox.
“If we were third from bottom, we could be talking about a lot of areas where we could get better at, and everyone would be looking at the game differently.
“What we have done is acclimatised [to this division] probably quicker than people thought we would, and expectation levels have risen. People want more, which is only human nature.
“If we were top of the table, some of our players wouldn’t be playing at this level and I probably wouldn’t be managing at this level, because when that happens, the ‘big boys’ start coming in for you.
“We’re in a good position, in eighth place and three points off the top. If someone offered us that at the beginning of the season, I’d have bitten their hand off.
“Are there going to be erratic performances [during the course of the season]? Absolutely. But going back, the two poor performances were both after the Chesterfield games, which took a lot out of us.”
Our boss also reflected on Saturday’s 0-0 stalemate at Torquay United, which extended our unbeaten away run in Sky Bet League Two to five matches.
“Saturday’s performance was a good away performance. We went away, were solid, and came away with a clean-sheet and a draw,” said Cox.
“If you looked at the fixtures at the beginning of the season, a lot of people would have said that if we came away [from Torquay] with a point, it’s a good one.
“We know that we have got to improve in areas and know that if we want to be competitive, we need to start scoring goals - not just our centre-forwards, but from all over the park.
“But we need to be realistic. We’re three points off top with a quarter of the season gone, in a league that is so tight I think between first and eighth position, there’s a three-point margin.
“I think we’re building and going in the right direction, so I think we need to keep our minds in a good place, rather than panicking, like a lot of people seem to be doing.”
When asked about strengthening his strike-force, Cox added: “Every manager in the country will want a 30-goal a season striker. We lost a good one in the summer, and I think that weakened the squad.
“A lot of people will say ‘Why didn’t you go out and sign another one?’ but these players are hard to come by. If you do find one, they usually come with a hefty price tag.
“We’ve got players like [Ollie] Palmer, who at some point needs ‘letting off his leash’ and players that are capable of being good players at this level.”
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Manager Paul Cox has revealed that Chris Clements is making good progress as he continues his recovery from a knee ligament injury.
PC: "He's running around and has a big smile on his face again. He’s not far from a comeback, but we don't want to rush him."
Relax and enjoy the season, says Stags boss Paul Cox after criticism
chad.co.uk, 21 October 2013
Paul Cox has told Mansfield Town supporters to relax and enjoy the season after some fans criticised his side’s performance in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at 10-men Torquay United.
As Stags prepared for Tuesday night’s trip to managerless strugglers Bury (7.45pm), manager Cox admitted his promoted team’s superb early season form had probably backfired with expectations now going through the roof for some fans.
Mansfield are in eighth place and just three points off top spot, but he felt that the current spell of three League games without a win seems to be looked on as a mini-disaster for some.
Mansfield only managed two shots on target at Plainmoor, but a strong wind and some fussy refereeing didn’t help the chances of flowing football for either side and Stags defended well.
“I get the feeling everyone is panicking and losing their heads. There is a bit of an erratic mindset,” said Cox.
“We know we can play better, but Saturday’s performance was a good away performance. We got a clean sheet and a draw, and if you had said we would do that at Torquay before the season started that would have looked brilliant.
“I know if we want to be competitive we need to start scoring goals, not just centre forwards but from all over the park.
“But we need to be realistic. A quarter of the season has gone and we are only three points off the top. That’s not a bad start. We are in a league that is so tight only three points separates top from eighth, where we are.
“I think we are building and going in the right direction.”
He added: “I think we are victims of our own success in the early part of the season.
“If we were third from bottom we would be talking about a lot of areas.
“We have acclimatised quicker than a lot of people thought we would. So expectation levels have risen and people want more- that’s human nature.
“If we were sat top now some of my players wouldn’t be playing at this level and I probably wouldn’t be managing at this level as people start coming in for you. I think we are in a good place right now.
“If you’d said pre-season we’d be eighth and only three points off the top after a quarter of the season I would have bitten your hand off.
“We have to be patient. We have to be careful we don’t peak too early or place unrealistic expectations on these players.
“Let’s go and enjoy League Two. There are a lot of clubs at this level and below would want to swap places with us right now.
“We do want to finish in as high a position as possible. I never tell my players it’s okay to finish just above the relegation places or mid-table. You always aim for the top. But they are human beings, they feel pressure, they get tired and they make mistakes as I will.
“We just need to stick to our plan, which we have done for the last two years. There will be highs and lows and there will be some bad performances.
“Sometimes you have just got to put a smile on your face and enjoy the game because bad times are always just around the corner.
“Let’s get our feet on the floor and get back to what we are about. It’s the thrill of the chase.”
On the possibility of bolstering his firepower, Cox said: “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t continually looking to improve the squad. Every manager wants a 30-goal-a-season striker. We lost one this summer - a very good one - and I think that weakened our squad.
“It’s easy to say go out and get another. But they don’t grow on trees. They are hard to come by and carry a hefty price tag.”
New Forest loanee midfielder Jack Blake will be hoping for a debut at Gigg Lane after being an unused substitute at Torquay.
Bury are without a League win in their last seven outings and parted company with Kevin Blackwell sacked last week and Ronnie Jepson acting as caretaker-manager.
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