MACDONALD AND BENNING PREVIEW MACC
We're playing with confidence - MacDonald
mansfieldtown.net, 23 August 2018
Stags’ midfielder Alex MacDonald has described the ‘confidence’ that Mansfield are currently playing with, and says that their good performances should soon turn into victories.
MacDonald has featured heavily this season, with manager David Flitcroft opting to utilise him in a central midfield role.
The versatile midfielder says that despite Mansfield’s unbeaten start to the campaign, the Stags are now determined to turn draws into wins.
“It was another good performance [on Tuesday],” he said. “I think we dominated for large spells of the game. When you go away to a club like Tranmere and you play a good team like them, it’s hard to really dominate possession. But I think we did that.
“It was a really tough game and one we probably should’ve won. That’s probably one of the most frustrating things in the dressing room. We dominate for large spells in games and the performances on the whole have been very good.
“Now, with the performances, we want to start seeing more wins on the board.
“If we weren’t performing and drawing these games, I’d be worried. But we’ve been performing very well.
“The lads have really bought into it. Hopefully now we can turn these good performances into more three points.
“Even though we conceded late on Saturday, it feels when we’re out there that we’re solid. That we’re hard to beat and we’re hard to get through.
“We’re going into these games confident of shutting teams out. Long may that continue.
“It’s always nice to get out of the blocks as quick as possible. Although we’ve drawn our last couple, we feel as though we’ve had a great start to the season. Performance-wise we have been brilliant, we just need to kick on now and continue that throughout the season.
“The longer these performances [go on], and how confident we are on the ball, these draws will definitely turn into victories soon.”
MacDonald spoke of the new three-at-the-back system implemented by Stags’ boss Flitcroft, and explained how his ‘quality over quantity’ approach to the transfer market has been a real asset to Mansfield’s unbeaten start to the season.
“It [new system] has been brilliant,” he added. “A lot of the lads have said the same thing. We worked tirelessly over three weeks of pre-season. We implemented it into some pre-season games and now that the season has started, the performances are really backing up all the hard work we’ve done over pre-season.
“When you take the approach that the manager has done with quality rather than quantity, it really does show on the field.
“We’ve made five or six signings and I think five of them were out on Tuesday. The players that the manager has brought in have been brilliant.
“It’s not changed much in terms of in the dressing room. You [can] have a really big turnover in players when you see eight go and 12 come in, and then there’s that time to gel. The core of the squad from last year are still here, with the addition of the five or six [new signings].”
The midfielder also looked ahead to our next two fixtures, which are away trips to Macclesfield Town in Sky Bet League Two and West Bromwich Albion in the Carabao Cup, respectively.
“Another hard game [on Saturday],” said MacDonald. “When you go away in League Two, it’s going to be a tough game. Like every other team, they all bring something different to the table.
“We’re concentrating on us and if we do what we know we can do, hopefully we can come away with a positive result.
“It [West Brom] is a good draw. Obviously you want to try and test yourself against the big boys. They’re only recently relegated from the Premier League. So we’re excited for that, but our focus remains on going to Moss Rose on Saturday.
“When you go to these big clubs, you go in there with an excitement and a freedom to go and play. Sometimes it’s good to go to these places with that freedom. We have our style of play and we’ll go there and try and be as positive as we can.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Alex MacDonald’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Alex MacDonald says new formation will bring the wins for Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 23 August 2018
Mansfield Town’s players are enjoying the club’s new 3-5-2 formation - and midfielder Alex MacDonald believes it will soon start producing the wins it is promising. It has taken new manager David Flitcroft a lot of hard work over the summer to educate his players into his favoured system, but MacDonald said: “It’s been brilliant and a lot of the lads have said the same thing.
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/alex-macdonald-says-new-formation-will-bring-the-wins-for-mansfield-town-1-9317642
“We’ve worked on it tirelessly for six weeks over pre-season, implemented it into the pre-season games and the early season performances are backing up all that hard work we’ve done. “Also, the manager has brought in quality instead of quantity over the summer and it really does show on the field. The players he has brought in have been brilliant.” Stags ended up with a third League two draw in a row in Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw at Tranmere Rovers and MacDonald said: “It was another good performance and we dominated for large spells of the game. “When you go away to a good team like Tranmere, it’s hard to dominate possession, but I think we did that for large spells. “Looking back on it we should have won it. The most frustrating thing for us in the dressing room is we are dominating games for large spells and performances have largely been very good. “But with those performances we now want to start seeing more wins on the board. “If we weren’t performing and we were drawing these games I’d be a little bit worried. But we are performing very well.” A clean sheet at Tranmere is always welcome for any side and MacDonald said the players feel confident in their defending right now. “I know we concede late on on Saturday, but when we are out there it feels we are solid, we are hard to beat and hard to get through,” he said. “We go into these games confident of shutting teams out and long may that continue. “Although we’ve drawn the last couple we feel we’ve had a great start to the season performance-wise and we are now just looking to carry that on.” On this weekend’s trip to Macclesfield Town, he added: “It will be another hard game on Saturday. It’s tough when you go away in League Two. “I’ve heard they are quite a direct team and like your Tranmeres and your Yeovils, they all bring something different to the table. “But we concentrate on us and, if we do what we know we can do, hopefully we will come away with a positive result.”
Benning says he feels 'much fitter' this season
mansfieldtown.net, 23 August 2018
Stags’ defender Mal Benning says he feels ‘much fitter’ in comparison to previous seasons, something he says is necessary to perform in his new role at left wing-back.
Since the start of pre-season, manager David Flitcroft has opted to deploy a three-at-the-back system, meaning a slight change of role for Benning, moving from left-back to left wing-back.
The defender explained the requirement of added fitness to properly fulfil his new role, and cited the Stags boss’ training programme for giving him exactly that.
“There’s a lot been said about work on the training ground but there definitely is,” said Benning. “Everyone knows what they’re doing. I thought the back three the other night were very solid.
“The back three are a main part of it [the system], and when the wing-backs need to help, we do. I think it’s just the work on the training ground so everyone knows their roles.
“We go through every aspect [on the training ground]. We go through passages of play and what to do when the ball is on the other side of the wing-back. [We’re learning] how to combat other teams.
“Wing-back is a role that I like. I’ve been enjoying it out there. Everyone knows that I like attacking from left-back and you do get that freedom. You’re further up the pitch and have to adapt your game.
“It’s one of those where if I am caught up the pitch I have Pearce or Sweeney on the left down there to back me up.
“Since the gaffer has come in with his fitness regime, I feel much fitter this year. I’m feeling much fitter and sharper. At left wing-back you do need to put a shift in and I’m putting much more of a shift in now.
“It [increased fitness] is very important at wing-back. You have to be attacking and defending, so you have to put a shift in out there.”
Benning also reflected on Stags’ recent 0-0 draw away to Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday night, and explained that although it was a good point to earn, he conceded that Mansfield had the chances to win the game.
“Overall I think it’s a very good point,” he added. “Going to Tranmere on a Tuesday night, not many teams will come away with three points. Saying that, we did have chances to get the three points.
“It was a good, contested game. We could’ve nicked it.
“The main thing is we are creating opportunities like that. Obviously you’re not going to score every one, but because we’re creating that many opportunities, we know we’re going to score goals in games.
“We’ll take that [unbeaten start] from pre-season as well. We played against some decent teams and we’re unbeaten against them as well so it’s a good stat to have and we want to keep it up.
“We’re all frustrated not to have picked up two wins in the last two games, but we’re unbeaten and that’s a great stat to have.
“We’re in a decent stage in the table so it’s one of those where if you get a couple more points we’re right up there.
“I’ve been satisfied [with my season]. Tuesday night was just one of those nights. You just take that on the chin and move on. Other than that I think I’ve done well.”
The defender then looked ahead to Stags’ next two fixtures, Macclesfield and West Brom, and explained why next Tuesday’s clash at the Hawthorns will be a special evening for him.
“They [Macclesfield] were champions last season so they’re going to have momentum. It’ll be another tough away day but I’m confident we can get three points.
“It [The Hawthorns] is literally two minutes from my house! It’s going to be a good match and I’m looking forward to it.
“We [me and my family] were talking about it [the draw]. I either wanted Aston Villa or West Brom, and one of them came through.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Mal Benning’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Benning enjoying his new ‘license to thrill’ roll with Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 23 August 2018
Mansfield Town’s Mal Benning is enjoying his ‘licence to thrill’ in his new left wing back role. Benning has always been an attacking left back and has scored some memorable goals, but ahead of Saturday’s trip to Macclesfield Town he said he was enjoying the freedom offered by his new position.
“Left back is my main position but I am enjoying it out there right now,” he said. “I have always liked attacking from left back and, as a wing back, you do get more freedom to attack. But you are further up the pitch so have to adapt your game here and there.
“As a wing back, attacking and defending, you really have to put a shift in. I do feel much fitter this year with all the work we have done. “They are very similar roles, there’s not much different. When I am not getting the ball high up I do tend to drop back into my left back role to try to get onto the ball.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/benning-enjoying-his-new-license-to-thrill-roll-with-mansfield-town-1-9316431
"But if I do get caught high up the pitch I have got players behind me to cover me up.”
Benning had a rare off day in Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw at Tranmere and was eventually replaced by Will Atkinson, but has already put it behind him. “I have been satisfied with my form. Tuesday night was just one of those nights when things don’t go your way,” he said. “As a left wing back you need to create opportunities and the gaffer thought I wasn’t really contributing that much, so fair enough. You just have to take it on the chin and move on. Other than that I’ve done well.” Despite three League Two draws in a row before this weekend, Benning is encouraged by the number of chances they continue to carve out. He said: “Overall I think it’s a very good point going to Tranmere on a Tuesday night. Having said we did have the chances to get the three points. “It was a well-contested game we could have nicked. The main thing is we are creating opportunities. “Obviously you’re not going to score every one, but because we are creating that many of them we know we are going to score goals in games. “We are still unbeaten, including pre-season, so it’s a good stat to have and we want to keep it up. “This run all goes back to the training ground. Everyone knows what they are doing. “The back three looked very solid the other night and I think they are a main part of it. Obviously when they need help from the wing backs we do help. “We are all frustrated not picking up two wins in the last two games. “But we are unbeaten so there’s no need to panic. We are playing good football and creating good opportunities. When things click it will be very good. “We are in a decent place in the table and one of those where a couple more points and we are right up there.” On Macclesfield, he added: “They were champions last year so they will have momentum. “It will be a tough away day again but I am confident we can get the three points.”
Mansfield Town’s Mal Benning set for proud moment against West Brom
It will be a proud moment for Mansfield Town’s West Midlands-based defender Mal Benning to run out at the Hawthorns for tomorrow night’s Carabao Cup second round tie against Championship giants West Bromwich Albion (8pm). “It’s literally two minutes from my house. It’s going to be a good match and I am looking forward to it,” he smiled. “I will have plenty of family there - at least 40 people. “I either wanted Aston Villa or West Brom in the draw.
“I support Liverpool but some of my family are Villa fans and some are West Brom fans so it’s a good draw.” He added: “I always drive past the stadium and say I need to play at that stadium. I’ve been there quite a few times to watch but it will be a first time playing there. “We have great confidence at the moment and we are creating a lot of chances, so we are looking forward to it and could give them some surprises.” Stags midfielder Alex MacDonald said he was also looking forward to a game on the huge stage of the Hawthorns. “It’s a good draw,” he said. “You always want to test yourself against the big boys and they have recently been relegated from the Premier League. “At this stage of the competition there’s probably not a bigger tie to be had so we are excited for that. “When you go to these big away grounds you go there with an excitement and a freedom to play. “Sometimes it can be a great thing to go and play your football with that freedom - and we’ve got our style of play. We will go there, be as positive as we can and see where it takes us.” This cup clash will only be the clubs’ third ever meeting. The sides have been drawn together in the second round of the Carabao Cup (8pm). The only other season the sides clashed was back in 1992/93 when they were both in Division Two. The Baggies won the first meeting 2-0 at home just before Christmas before a resounding 3-0 victory at Field Mill in April as George Foster’s men suffered relegation.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-s-mal-benning-set-for-proud-moment-against-west-brom-1-9317652
Latest | August 2018