EVANS AND ANGOL REACTION
Boss pleased with pre-season starting block
Stags' boss Steve Evans says last night's 5-0 victory over a Malta Players Association XI is 'something to build on' after seeing his new-look squad in action for the first time.
Two separate Stags' teams played 45 minutes apiece in the win, with striker Danny Rose and midfielders Paul Digby and Will Atkinson all getting on the scoresheet, whilst frontman Lee Angol bagged a second half brace.
And the gaffer was pleased with the 'workmanlike performance' which he witnessed at the Ta 'Qali National Stadium Training Facility last night.
"It was very much a workmanlike performance, with lots of energy, we scored a few goals, didn't concede, could have scored lots more but [I was] really pleased with the industry and how they're adapting to the style that we're trying to introduce," the Stags' chief said.
"There's nothing for any supporter to look in to [with regard to team selection]. We just shaped two teams and we'll play here for 45 minutes on Saturday, amongst the squad of course, but we'll have it where we mix the group again - so it will be two different XIs and they'll play against each other.
"We're trying to get players used to playing with each other and trying to quickly come up to speed with how we want them to play. It was a good start and simply just something to build on."
The manager commended his players for their work ethic in training this week and also thanked the club's hierarchy for the professional nature of the pre-season trip.
"These lads have got an incredible attitude to work hard, they've come here and trained three times a day. There's never been one criticism, not one raised eyebrow.
"The players deserve enormous credit for adapting to what they've done, but the chairman and the chief executive, the Radford family, deserve enormous credit.
"I think we've got players who have all been successful - a lot of them have been successful in their careers at higher levels - and certainly in terms of arrangements, professionalism [and] how they've been treated, it's the best they've had in their careers. That's testament to the Radford family."
A large number of Stags' fans watched last night's pre-season fixture in Malta and the gaffer was appreciative of their fantastic support.
"When I see supporters arrive on open top buses and singing over the walls of the stadium or the training ground we're playing at, it's incredible.
"I must admit, I don't know how many are here - 500/600 Stags' fans - it's a fantastic turnout to come so far and that's why I said to the players I wanted them to go round the far side where the supporters were watching the game and just acknowledge them and appreciate them before we went and got changed.
"It's fantastic to see the players walking off amongst the supporters. It's a little bit of payback to them because they've spent hard-earned money to be here, we're here professionally, but they've spent hard-earned money to support the club they love."
Supporters can view the manager's post-match interview on iFollow Stags.
Stags already beginning to gel - Angol
After scoring a brace on his Stags’ debut in the 5-0 win over a Malta Players Association XI last night, frontman Lee Angol believes his team-mates are already beginning to understand each other's games.
The forward signed from Peterborough United in May and his well-taken brace in Malta capped off a promising Stags’ performance in which striker Danny Rose and midfielders Paul Digby and Will Atkinson also got on the scoresheet.
And although the Stags’ new-look squad is only in its early stages of gelling together, Angol believes the squad are already combining well on the pitch.
“It’s a talented bunch of players throughout the whole squad,” Angol said.
“If you see in the first half, there was a lot of talent on board and in the second half, the team I was playing with, everyone’s linking up together and everyone’s understanding each other.
“Obviously we’ve got to get used to the system what the gaffer (Steve Evans) and Rayns (Paul Raynor) want, we’ve got to start listening to new instructions and it takes time sometimes to understand what they want from you and what they expect from you.
“Once you get it and you listen, it becomes easier and if we keep working hard, it works [going forward].”
After being in pre-season training for just over a week, the former Lincoln City loanee is enjoying the start of his Stags’ career.
“It’s been hard work as usual with pre-season and I’ve enjoyed it as well. It’s not just pure running; it’s enjoyment as well and the team’s getting together, learning new faces and making new friends, it’s all good.
“You don’t really go into a team when the majority of the team is brand new players, so it’s a new experience for everyone I guess. We’re all working hard to talk to people on different days and get to know different people.”
The 22-year-old frontman scored two goals and had a penalty saved in last night’s pre-season friendly and he now hopes to build on his goalscoring debut moving forward.
“Personally, [it was] good to get two goals - it should have been three but it was a good save from the ‘keeper - but overall it was a good start to pre-season.
“Some strikers might not need to score, they might not worry if a game goes past and they don’t score. But some strikers need to score every game - they go into each game thinking ‘I need to score, I need to score’ to build up that momentum and confidence to bring into the season.
“I’ve started with two and hopefully I can keep scoring more.”
Supporters can view Lee Angol’s post-match interview on iFollow Stags.