FLITCROFT, BISHOP, RICHIE WELLENS REACTION
Stags' boss happy to maintain unbeaten streak
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 29 December 2018
Stags’ boss David Flitcroft conceded that his side were not ‘clinical’ enough against Swindon Town in today’s 0-0 draw, but was left pleased by another clean sheet and the continuation of the unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two, which now stretches to 16 matches.
The clean sheet in today’s contest maintained Stags’ impressive defensive record - the best in Sky Bet League Two this season - having only conceded 16 times in 23 matches.
The manager says his defensive players ‘focused’ well throughout the game.
“From the sideline, I think it looked an easier game than it actually was,” he said. “What I mean by that was the conditions and the wind in the first half.
“I think we could’ve been a bit braver and moved it round the pitch better. If we score some of those early chances, it gives the game a different complexion.
“It’s a clean sheet, another point to add to the total and we’re unbeaten again. They made it difficult for us and have quick players up front.
“In the second half, Conrad Logan’s not had a touch. I thought the referee broke the game up too much, and we couldn’t get in much of a flow whatsoever.
“I thought the three lads at the back and Logan, to keep the clean sheet, focused really well. But I didn’t think we were precise enough throughout the game.
“One thing Swindon did well is put their bodies on the line for each other. We pushed and pushed. Second half, the lads went out there and were brave. There was only one team trying to win that second half.”
The Stags’ boss added that the players have something to ‘protect’ in terms of the 16-match unbeaten record.
“We alert the players to keep making sure they protect each other and that [unbeaten] run that they’ve worked so hard for.
“We go out and try to win every game. We look to be positive to go and win games, and today’s no different.
“It was a real push to try and score that goal [in the second half]. We just weren’t clinical enough in the first half, where we had some good chances.”
The manager also gave his verdict on the season so far, with the game against Swindon being our final fixture of 2018.
“What the players have achieved in keeping their consistency, the credit goes to the group of players who have committed to what I’ve asked of them,” he added.
“We do demand high standards. The vision to bring good football to Mansfield Town and engage in the community is something that I am proud of.
“We are trying to deliver that on a number of fronts. I love the work the lads do in the community. Everything that you think a good football club should be about, we’re heading in the right direction.
“Can we improve things? Always. That’s continual, it doesn’t stop; especially when you’re trying to drive up the league.
“I have a chairman and CEO who understand about improving and driving business. The staff here are brilliant, and the support they give me is phenomenal.
“We’re only halfway there. Can things get better? A million per cent. I have a group of players who want to improve and want to play for Mansfield Town. I think that’s something that is really important to me as a person and a manager.”
Earlier this week, we announced that former Football League manager Greg Abbott had been appointed as the club’s new head of football operations, an appointment that the Stags’ chief explained in further detail after today’s game.
“I don’t want things going missing in terms of phone calls and the office side of stuff. The agents are relentless now and they have been for about the last six weeks.
“It’s about really building the football plan that we’ve started, and Greg’s coming in to be able to do that.
“It gives me someone that I can go to for football support. It’s about supporting me, supporting Futch [assistant manager Ben Futcher] in always making the best decisions for the football club.
“I think it’s a role that a lot of football clubs have now. It’s about tying everything together and keeping that pathway clear.
“Over the past two weeks we’ve been looking at our squad and the balance. We have just over four weeks to make sure we make good decisions.
“The team is up there at the top of the league, so we’ve had interest ourselves from other clubs. It’s about coming out of the window stronger than we went into it.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Flitcroft praises squad as Mansfield draw with Swindon to close in on record
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 29 December 2018
Despite a below-par afternoon, Mansfield Town continue to home in on the club's all-time unbeaten record with today's 0-0 home draw with Swindon Town. That made it 16 League Two games without defeat with just four more unbeaten games needed to equal the record set in 1976.
David Flitcroft said:“I've not mentioned it to the players though I have read it in the press. “Leadership is about passing on and those players don't need motivating every single day.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/flitcroft-praises-squad-as-mansfield-draw-with-swindon-to-close-in-on-record-1-9513072?fbclid=IwAR1tQeUaotPdq_3_5lT0Bz-EAx82CME5bdtRAWuts3FkaplqWDJjjp5JMwc
“They are motivated by their own personal performances which add to the team performance. “Winning becomes a part of your mentality and we have to keep doing the right things.”
Flitcroft said a strong wind and some overly-fussy refereeing from Trevor Kettle did not help his side today though was full of praise for his former club Swindon and their efforts. “It was a difficult game with the wind. From the sidelines it probably looked calmer than it was in the centre of the pitch,” he said. “There was a real wind into our goal in the first half and we struggled to get out at times. It benefited them as they have three quick players up front and they kept hooking the ball towards them.
“Second half we went for the jugular but were not as clinical in our work as have been. “We did make opportunities but didn't make the most of them. “But every credit to Swindon as they put bodies on the line today.”
He added: “I don't think we were quite at it today and I don't think we moved the ball as fluently as we can. I think the referee played a big part in that. “It was messy - a lot of free kicks which almost suits an away team as it spoils the fluidity.”
However, Stags remain in the top three and now have the division's best defensive record which delighted the manager. “One goal would have been enough for either side,” he said. “Once you don't take those chances it is really important you keep that clean sheet and that has now given us the best defensive record in the league which pleases me as I'd argue with anyone that we are one of the most expansive, attacking teams to watch. “I can't remember Conrad Logan having anything to do second half - it was one-way traffic. But it's difficult when they get bodies in front of the keeper. So credit to Swindon.
“We can still improve things. It's been a massive effort - but we are only halfway there. “I have a group of players who want to improve and play for Mansfield Town and our supporters which is something really important to me as a manager and a person.”
Mansfield Town on a mission to keep Tyler Walker
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
One of the first jobs for the new head of football operations at Mansfield Town, Greg Abbott, must be to make sure in-form striker Tyler Walker stays at the Stags for the rest of the season. That’s the view of manager David Flitcroft, who is determined to keep leading scorer Tyler at One Call Stadium as he prepares to keep the Stags in the League Two promotion mix over the next four months. Walker joined from Championship neighbours Nottingham Forest at the end of June for the start of a season-long loan - and it has been a success as the young striker has hit 15 goals in all competitions to help fire the Stags into the top three. But that goal tally has led to speculation the 22-year-old could be recalled by the Reds, where a run of indifferent results has put pressure on manager Aitor Karanka as Forest target promotion to the Premier League.
Flitcroft, speaking after Saturday’s goalless draw with Swindon Town extended the Stags’ unbeaten league run to 16 matches, said: “The first priority on Greg’s list is to make sure we get that (loan) nailed. We need to make sure we get the contract boxed off and signed over. “There is always a break in season-long contracts if the parties decide. They always leave it open so a player is not trapped or a club is not trapped. “But the initial agreement was for a year.”
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-on-a-mission-to-keep-tyler-walker-1-9516043
Flitcroft said both himself and Walker, who has netted 11 league goals, were aware of the speculation surrounding the young striker. The manager added: “I have spoken to Tyler on it, but he is super committed to what we are trying to do and he has shown that in the four months we’ve had him. “We have a really good relationship with Forest. We have delivered in what we’ve tried to do for Tyler and how we’ve looked after him. “We have treated him as one of our own - like Ryan Sweeney (on loan from Stoke City) and Timi Elsnik (on loan from Derby County).
“Sometimes loans don’t work, but only when the communication is not right or you haven’t committed to it. But we have kept everyone in touch with what’s going on. “It’s worked for Tyler and it’s worked for us. He is a big part of the players. He’d do anything for them and them for him. He’s in a good place.
“Hopefully by the end of the season he can double his tally.”
Walker said after the Boxing Day 2-1 home win over Bury: “I don’t really know what’s going on at Forest. I wish them all the best and want them to do really well but I am concentrating on what is going on here. “I am really enjoying my football. It’s a good club to be at. We are in a great position and hopefully we can kick on from here.”
Stags showed desire to keep clean sheet - Bishop
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 29 December 2018
Midfielder Neal Bishop believes that Mansfield Town’s desire to keep yet another clean sheet showed this afternoon, as they were held to a 0-0 draw against Swindon Town.
Recording their 11th clean sheet in 23 league games thus far, the Stags were forced to settle for a point against the Robins despite dominating large parts of the game.
It also ensured they continued to boast the league’s best defensive record, having conceded only 16 times.
The first-half saw an even mix of chances for both sides, but the second period’s notable opportunities fell the way of the hosts who were unable to capitalise.
However, Bishop believes that his side battled hard to keep their latest clean sheet and it was put on show for all to see.
“I think you’ve seen the desire to keep the clean sheet,” he declared. “It was massive, not just from the back three and goalkeeper, but from the whole team.
“We’ll take a point and move on. If you’re going to be successful you’re not going to play well for 46 league games - you need to dig out results and that’s what we’ve done.
“First half it was blowing a gale down our throats so we found it hard to get out at times. But we created one or two chances, and to be fair they did as well.
“Ultimately when you’re not playing at your best you have to grind out results and we’ve done that today.”
The 37-year-old also highlighted Swindon’s organisation and resilience, yet conceded that his side were not at their best on Saturday afternoon.
“Collectively we probably weren’t at it like we were Boxing Day but no two games are ever the same. You’re not going to play explosive, expansive football every game as much as you want to.
“Sometimes you have to take your hats off to the opposition, too. They’ve come here and done really well.
“They were organised and got themselves behind the ball well. We probably weren’t at our ruthless best going forward, a couple of little mistakes let them in, but when we were in the final third we didn’t have that pass or that opportunity.
“That’s credit to them because they got a lot of bodies back; especially at the end around the goalmouth they defended for their lives, so fair play to them.
“Today maybe we were 10 or 15 percent off it but if we get back to it we’re confident we can win most games we play.
Bishop also looked ahead to Mansfield’s next two fixtures as they face Grimsby Town and Carlisle United - with the former enjoying a spell of four consecutive victories.
“I’m greedy - I wish we’d have won today to make it a perfect nine points. We’ve remained unbeaten with one defeat in half a season,” he continued.
“It shows the desire, commitment and attitude to work with each other that’s instilled from the manager.
“It was all shown today and we’re going to need that determination next week because Grimsby are on a little run and Carlisle are a good footballing team at their place.
“And it’s another two tests with the games coming thick and fast.
“We give everyone in this league respect, of course you do, but if we’re on it we can pick up our game and get back to what we’re good at.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the midfielder's interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Bishop: Grinding out results is crucial to Mansfield Town chances
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 29 December 2018
Neal Bishop said Mansfield Town showed today that they can dig in for a point when things are not going for them. The 0-0 home draw with Swindon Town was a disappointment, but also saw Stags end the three Festive games over Christmas with seven points.
“Collectively we probably weren't at it like we were Boxing Day, but no two games are ever the same,” said the experienced midfielder.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/bishop-grinding-out-results-is-crucial-to-mansfield-town-chances-1-9513109
“You are not going to play expansive, explosive football every game.
“As much as you'd like to, those conditions didn't help, especially first half. It was blowing a gale down our throats and we found it hard to get out at times.
“There will be plenty of days like that this winter and we have to adapt. “We did create one or two chances first, and to be fair they did as well.
“When you're not playing at your best you have to grind out results as we have today. “I think you saw our desire to keep a clean sheet, which was massive for the whole team. We took a point and we move on. “You won't play well for 46 league games but you need to get results and dig them out at times and that's what we've done.”
He added: “Sometimes you have to take your hat off to the opposition and they have come here and set up to counter-attack, being brave by leaving three lads up front.
“On the balance of it a draw was probably a fair result, looking at the chances at either end. “They got behind the ball well and we were probably not at our ruthless best.”
Bishop said the players were proud they had reached the midway point of the League Two season with only one defeat and on a 16-game unbeaten run. “A win today would have given us a perfect nine points over Christmas, but these things happen. Now we have two massive away games next week,” he said.
“We keep our unbeaten run and we've only lost once game in the whole of the first half of the league season which just shows you our desire and commitment.
“It shows our attitude to work for each other which is instilled from the manager, down through the skipper and into the boys.
Swindon Town boss Richie Wellens frustrated by lack of killer instinct in goalless draw at Mansfield Town
swindonadvertiser.co.uk,By Harry Abbott @harryabbott
SWINDON Town manager Richie Wellens felt only the lack of a killer instinct in the final third prevented his side from leaving Mansfield Town with all three points instead of one this afternoon.
Wellens’ side brought the curtain down on their 2018 fixtures with a 0-0 draw away at League Two high-flyers Mansfield, making three draws in a row over Christmas.
Town were only denied a half-time lead at the One Call Stadium by some superb saves from Stags stopper Conrad Logan, first from Keshi Anderson and then from a dipping Matt Taylor free-kick.
Although Mansfield had the better of the action in the second half, Wellens believed his side could have travelled home with victory had they been more ruthless in front of goal.
“We were outstanding in the first half and should have been three or four goals up,” said Wellens.
“I can set a team up - we’re organised, we have defensive structure, we press well, we play good football and we can counter.
“We look a really good team, but - and I am frustrated - we are never going to see our full potential unless we start taking our chances.
“Their man of the match was announced as Tyler Walker. No disrespect, but I didn’t really see him, he was quiet today.
“Their man of the match was the goalkeeper. He pulled off vital saves when required.
“We are difficult to beat now, but if we had gone 1-0 up today, we would have picked them off.
“I said it after Northampton (a 1-1 draw on Boxing Day), we are a decent team, but we aren’t going to see our true potential until we start finishing chances off.”
Wellens believes his Swindon side have now got to grips with all facets of the game he has tried to implement since taking over at the club in November.
A feature of their play has been a high press, which frequently caused problems for a Mansfield side who have lost just one league game all season.
However, Wellens says Swindon must learn how to kill off opponents in order to become the finished article.
“I need help - I need goals in the squad for our structure, for our pressing and intensity, for our counter,” said Wellens.
“How many balls were there from the last defender through to the goalkeeper? Three or four in the first half. We were getting in behind for a cutback six or seven times. There should be goals.
“But I can’t fault effort and organisation. We limited a team who has been beaten once all season to very few opportunities and they came from our turnover of possession.
“I thought we were by far the better team.”
WELLENS: IT'S A GOOD POINT, BUT I'M NOT HAPPY WITH DRAWS
Richie Wellens was in two minds about his team’s trip to Mansfield - pleased with the performance but frustrated with just a point.
Town had to settle for their second goalless draw in three games despite an electric first-half performance at Field Mill.
Wellens was left with mixed emotions because of how finely his team executed their game plan.
“We’re tough to beat but I’ll say it again: we’re not going to see our full potential until we start scoring. If we go 1-0 up there today, we will go on and pick them off.
“I can’t fault effort, organisation - I think we limited a team that has been beat once in the whole season to very few opportunities and they came from our turnovers of possession.
“If someone had come to the game today for the first time, didn’t know the league table they would have said: that team in red aren’t bad, they’re a really good team - they just need to finish.
“We’re unbeaten in seven bar one - but I’m not happy with draws. It’s a good point - and if you’d offered it to me before the game then I would probably would have taken it but the way the game went and our performance levels being high, it’s frustrating.”
Wellens said his team were excellent but were let down not just by their finishing but by a couple of frustrating decisions.
“First half: outstanding, we should be three or four up. I can set a team up - we were organised in our defensive structure. We pressed well, and we played good football at times and we can counter. We look a really good team at times but, and I’m frustrated, we’re never going to see our true potential unless we start taking our chances.
“Man of the match for them was the goalkeeper - he pulled off some vital saves when required. We hit the crossbar and it’s a sending off (for Krystian Pearce). If that’s not a sending off… I mean, he’s said that Kaiyne’s not got the ball - he’s not got the ball because he’s running onto the ball.
“It’s a blatant red card and even worse, two minutes later - the balls gone into Marc Richards, he’s chested it down and is about to Woolery in and he brings it back for a foul.
“It’s tough because they’re making wrong decisions.”