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EVANS AND JOHN McGREAL REACTION
19th March 2017 21:57


Stags create hatful of chances but can't find net
mansfieldtown.net, 14th March 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans was left frustrated this evening after seeing his side dominate a fourth game in a row yet still come away empty-handed following a 2-0 defeat away to Colchester United.

First half goals from winger Brennan Dickenson and forward Sammie Szmodics ultimately won the game for the U’s, but Stags created a number of good opportunities to take something from the encounter, particularly in the second half when the home side rarely got out of their own half.

And the manager was clearly disappointed at full-time, after another creative performance should have seen the Stags return to north Nottinghamshire with something for their efforts.

“I don’t think I’ve ever personally been involved with a team that for four or five games now, we don’t take a chance, we don’t look like taking a chance and we’re making golden chances. If we’re being honest tonight, we should be two up [with] two sitters,” the Stags’ chief said.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/stags-create-hatful-of-chances-but-cant-find-net-3626153.aspx#pLDkOWhxfqCQUQ3x.99

“We go in at half-time, we change things around a little bit, Colchester don’t get out their half in the second half. We have to take it on the chin and go again on Saturday and change it to try to find somebody that will score a goal.

“We’ve come here tonight and dominated for huge spells and missed chances and got beat. Unless you’re putting the ball in the net, you’re never going to win a game.

“We always break it down to hard facts; they have two chances and take two, we have eight, score none.

“We break it down to Plymouth - they have one-and-a-half chances - the free-kick isn’t a particular chance but the boy sticks it in the net. We have eight. And they’re good chances, we’re not counting half-chances or strikes or general knockdowns; we’re talking about passages of play where we’ve opened teams up.

“[We had] four at Cheltenham and six at Yeovil so it doesn’t need a mathematician to tell me that’s 24-[26] chances in four games and we struggle to score a goal.”

Tonight’s defeat means the gap between Stags and the play-off positions is now five points but the manager remains fully focussed on fighting for a place in the top seven with nine games to go.

“We said we couldn’t allow the gap to be more than three before we go into single figure games.

“We’re five points off the play-offs now, I understand, but we’re not dead and dusted by any stretch. We win on Saturday and we could be back to within three or four points as a maximum from it so we need to look after ourselves.

“When I was at Rotherham and we went up in second, we won the last six games to go straight up. We’re not going to probably be capable of getting in to second place but if we win a high percentage of the games that’s left, we go in to the play-offs, guaranteed.”

Supporters will be able to login to Stags PlayerHD to view Steve Evans’ post-match interview on Wednesday morning.

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Boss Evans stays positive as Stags’ goal drought continues
chad.co.uk, by SPORTS REPORTER (Agency), Tuesday 14 March 2017

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans remained positive after a fourth game without a win or a goal in tonight’s 2-0 defeat at Colchester United saw them slide further away from the top seven.

Once again Stags totally dominated the game but their goal drought is now 375 minutes and proving costly.

“We’re five points off the play-offs so we’re not dead and dusted by any stretch,” he said.

“If we win on Saturday we could be back to three or four points as a maximum from it so we need to look after ourselves. But we need to score a goal. We’re never going to win a game unless we score a goal.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/boss-evans-stays-positive-as-stags-goal-drought-continues-1-8438894

“The players are down now but it’s my job to lift them and get them ready for Saturday.

“You’re five points away and it can all change. When I was at Rotherham and we went up in second we won the last six games of the season to go straight up.

“Now we’re probably not going to be capable of going up in second place, but if we win a high percentage of the games that are left we go into the play-offs guaranteed.”

Only their lack of goals is holding Mansfield back and Evans said: “It’s gone on for too long now and we’ve been totally dominant in these games.

“Colchester have taken their two chances tonight and we wish them every success in their fight for the play-offs as well as our own.

“But they have been absolutely bossed all over the pitch tonight and we’ve had chance after chance after chance.

“They never got out their half second half. Scott Shearer has only touched the ball from pass backs - that’s a fact. They didn’t have one attack on our goal.

“But it counts for nothing when you leave here with zero goals for and two against. It’s painful.

“I’d like to think sometime between now and the end of the season someone will take a hiding.

“We are dominating the best teams in the league and the worst teams in the league but we’re not scoring a goal.”

Evans once again underlined the need for some proven scorers to join the club in the summer.

“I have always said you’re never going to recruit a quality striker in the January window unless you’ve got bundles - and we don’t have bundles,” he said.

“That’s why they say strikers are gold dust as they cost gold wages. We need to address that when we get that opportunity. “You need to do your business predominantly in the summer months and unfortunately we never signed what you’d call a recognised goalscorer. That’s always going to be a problem. “If you have any experience as a manager you know the problems come if you’re not making chances and you’re not playing well. That tells you you’re probably going to head on to the dole queue. “But when you’re creating lots of chances and playing well you need a goalscorer - and at this minute in time we’ve not got anyone in the squad who is capable of putting the ball in the net. “If we did we’d have won here 5-2 tonight and if it’s like that we’d have won 7-2 on Saturday. “We’re not helping ourselves, we’re making it doubly difficult.” He added: “I commend all the players for how hard they are working. No one means to miss a chance.

“We made a couple of cardinal errors for their goals tonight too.

“That makes it a bit more difficult. And we have carved out two simple, simple chances in the first 20 minutes.

“The players need to look at themselves and if we end up not involved in the play-offs I don’t think too many of their phones will be ringing.”

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Colchester United head coach John McGreal delighted with Mansfield Town victory
by Jonathan Waldron, gazette-news.co.uk

Colchester United head coach John McGreal hailed winger Brennan Dickenson after his scored one goal and made another in their 2-0 win over Mansfield Town.

Dickenson bagged his tenth goal of an impressive first season for the U's and also set up Sammie Szmodics' goal for Colchester, who moved up to ninth and remain three points off the play-offs in League Two following their win over the Stags.

McGreal said: "There are reasons why the likes of Ipswich Town came knocking on the door for Brennan in January and one or two others I'm sure will in the summer.

"Brennan is a terrific player - we brought him in the summer when he was lacking confidence but this is his best season in football by far.

http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/sport/colchesterunited/15155997.McGreal_full_of_praise_for_impressive_Dickenson_after_U_s_win/

"He's come to a young, vibrant team and we've told him to go and play.

"He scored with his right foot coming in and he's adapted his game but you also know you're going to get his numbers with his supply, with a great ball in for Sam (Szmodics).

“It was a very hard-earned win for us and it keeps us in and around that top seven, so I’m absolutely delighted.

“We let ourselves down a little bit in losing 4-0 to Portsmouth last Saturday and we analysed the performance and we knew that we needed to improve defensively.

“I thought you saw that against a tough Mansfield team who will push and pull you into certain areas you don’t want to go.

“You’ve got to defend not only first phase but second phase and third phase but I thought to a man with a young team, we defended resolutely."

Colchester went in leading 2-0 at half-time but had to defend for large periods of the second half, as Mansfield pressed them back.

McGreal added: "We've been there this season - at Grimsby the other week, we had all of the possession and lost and at Cambridge, we had a lot of the possession and drew the game.

"Tonight was a different game and we went for a different game plan.

“We scored two good goals in the first half and in the second half, we let them come onto us and tried to counter.

“It didn’t quite work but we’ve all got things to learn and I want to win games of football.”

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McGreal is delighted with "beast" Rekeil
by Jonathan Waldron, gazette-news.co.uk

COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal admitted being delighted with full debutant Rekeil Pyke in Tuesday’s 2-0 success at home to Mansfield Town.

The Huddersfield Town loanee made his first start as a replacement for Owen Garvan, who has been carrying a knee injury over recent weeks.

Pyke, who joined in January, impressed as goals from Brennan Dickenson and Sammie Szmodics secured an important victory against the Stags.

And afterwards head coach John McGreal said: “I thought Rekeil was terrific.

“He’s a beast of a kid and I know the Huddersfield manager Mr (David) Wagner rates him very highly.

“They see him in and around their first team and we’re delighted that he’s now got his start.

http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/sport/colchesterunited/15157690.McGreal_is_delighted_with__beast__Rekeil/

“We had been thinking about giving him a start and we thought the (Mansfield) game was the perfect opportunity to do that against a man’s team and against two tough centre-halves.

“I thought he more than held his own, especially in the first half.

“You could see he ran out of a little bit of gas but we’re looking for him to conserve himself, recover and hopefully then he’ll be ready to go again on Saturday for us (at Crewe).”

McGreal believes his players “restored pride” after the disappointment of Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at home to Portsmouth.

Tuesday’s win left the U’s ninth in League Two and three points behind seventh-placed Exeter City.

“We can’t get away from what happened against Portsmouth, which was disappointing and we’ve had to pick them up,” said the Colchester boss.

“We’ve been really good at home but we put in a mediocre performance in that game where we got put to the sword a little bit.

“I hope it was a case of pride restored for us (after Saturday).

“It was a hard-working performance against a tough, tough team and I was over the moon to come away with three points.

“Would you rather have the three points or the performance, at this stage of the season?

“I’m sure a lot of the fans would have the three points, which are most important.

“The boys are thoroughly involved in what’s going on.

“They’re not daft and they want to keep going - once you get a young group around you and you have experienced players pushing them, you have half a chance.”

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“We’ve all got things to learn” - Colchester United boss John McGreal
by Carl Marston, greenun24.co.uk

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, was delighted with the way his side bounced back from Saturday’s 4-0 home thrashing at the hands of Portsmouth, to defeat play-off rivals Mansfield Town last night.

The U’s are up to ninth in the League Two table, three points adrift of the play-offs going into the last nine fixtures of the season.

“Defensively, we needed to improve on Saturday, and I think you’ve seen that tonight,” enthused McGreal.

“We were playing against a tough, tough team in Mansfield. They put the ball into areas where you have got to defend, the first phase, second phase and third phase.

http://www.greenun24.co.uk/colchester-united/we_ve_all_got_things_to_learn_colchester_united_boss_john_mcgreal_1_4931898

“I thought, to a man - and we had a young team out there, full of young boys - we defended resolutely.

“Mansfield had lots of chances, but then we’ve been there ourselves. We were at Grimsby the other week when we had all the possession and still got beaten, and at Cambridge we again had a lot of the ball and only drew the game.

“Tonight was a different game, and we went into it with a different game-plan. We have executed two great goals in the first half and then in the second half we’ve let them come onto us and tried to counter.

“It didn’t always work, but I want to learn how to win games of football - we’ve all got things to learn - and this keeps us around that top seven, with this performance.

“So I’m absolutely delighted with the result,” added McGreal.

The U’s supremo had special praise for Brennan Dickenson, who broke the deadlock with his 10th goal of the season.

The left wing-back, who was attracting the interest of Championship club Ipswich Town during the January transfer window, also set up the second goal for Sammie Szmodics.

“It goes without saying the reasons why the Ipswichs are knocking on the door,” explained McGreal.

“I’m sure one or two others will come in this summer-time as well, because he is a terrific player.

“Brennan was lacking confidence when he first came in, over the summer-time, but this now is by far-and-away the best season of his career so far,” added McGreal.

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