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10th September 2021 23:54

Improvement needed from set plays - boss
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 7th September 2021

Manager Nigel Clough says the ‘good things’ in Stags’ performances are being ‘overshadowed’ by his side not ‘dealing with set plays.’

The boss’ comments follow Saturday’s disappointing 3-1 defeat at home to Harrogate Town, in which Stags’ visitors found the net on three occasions from set piece situations.

Nigel Clough says that, despite the disappointment of the last three league games, his side are still ‘playing well and creating chances.’


“All the good things we’re doing are overshadowed at the moment by our defending from set plays,” he told iFollow Stags. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what we need to improve upon.

“Despite working on them [defending set plays], it’s very much an individual thing in a team; you have to do your job from set plays. It’s a collective after that, and we’re not doing either at the moment, which is costing us points.

“We’ll keep working on it and stressing to them [players] the importance [of set plays]. Then obviously you have to change individuals if they’re not doing their jobs.

“There are so many good things within the performances, and we’re just not dealing with the corners and set plays that are coming in.

“We’re playing well and creating chances. [With] balls in the box, final third entries, all things like that, we’re well up there [in the standings]. It’s just dealing with these set plays that we have to do better.

“We want to keep doing all of those good things that we’re doing. It’s not as if we’re being cut to ribbons because we’re exposed at the back. We’re just causing ourselves problems.”

Ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two fixture away to Walsall, the boss drew parallels between the two sides following an influx of new players over the summer.

Nigel Clough also stressed the importance of emphasising the ‘good things’ and highlighting ‘what is costing us’ ahead of the trip to the Banks’s Stadium.

“It’s going to take time for everyone to settle in [at Walsall]. We did that [summer overhaul] to a certain degree as well. Things take time to gel.

“All teams that have brought a lot of players in, sometimes it will look good for a few games then might be a bit disjointed.

“I think that’s probably where we are and where Walsall are at the moment.

“Even when we’re not winning games, we have to get draws and try to see the points board ticking along and keep the confidence going. It’s defeats that crush confidence.

“It’s very important that we put everything into perspective, emphasise the good things we’re doing and highlight what is costing us games [ahead of Saturday].”

The manager also provided the latest team news, which includes the suspensions to midfielders Ollie Clarke and Stephen Quinn following their red cards on Saturday.

“We considered appealing Ollie Clarke’s [red card], as we thought it was a little harsh. But it’s very difficult to overturn decisions.

“I think Ollie Clarke may only be [out for] one [game] and Stephen Quinn will be three [games], but we’ll await confirmation on that.

“We have players who featured for the under-23s [against Sunderland] last night who got a game under their belt. With two players suspended, it gives a great opportunity for another couple of people to come in.

“He [James Perch] will still be out. There’s no timescale on that just yet. He’s seeing another specialist next week and we’ll know more after that.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.


Mansfield Town boss calls for improvement in defending of set-pieces
chad.co.uk, By Stephen Thirkill, Tuesday 7th September 2021

Nigel Clough wants to see a big improvement in how Mansfield Town defend set pieces.

Stags have conceded four goals from set-plays in their last two home matches, including all three against Harrogate at the weekend.

And the frustrated Stags gaffer says his side must tighten up in order to stop chucking points away.

“All the good things we are doing at the moment are being overshadowed by our defending of set plays,” he said.


“We have now conceded six goals at home in our last two games, four from set plays.

“It doesn't take a genius to know what we need to improve on.

“It’s very much an individual thing within a team that you have to do your job within set plays and then it’s a collective after that - and we are not doing either.

“We keep working on it and stressing the importance of defending them well. There are so many good things within the performance, but we are just not dealing with the corners and set plays that are coming in.

“All four goals on Saturday came from set plays so it shows the importance.”

Clough revealed he is now considering a switch to zonal defending of set-pieces to help bring about a change in fortunes.

“We will have a good chat about it and see whether we maybe switch to defending zonally or as individuals still.

“I don't mind how we defend them as long as we defend them better.

“We are playing well and creating chances. We are doing a lot right in the final third. but we have to do better at dealing with set pieces because it’s costing us games.

“It is not about a balance. We want to do the good things we are doing, it’s not like we are being exposed at the back and cut to ribbons. We are just causing our own problems by not defending well enough.”


Mansfield Town squad players have an opportunity to shine, says Nigel Clough
chad.co.uk, By Stephen Thirkill, Tuesday 7th September 2021

Boss Nigel Clough says two stags squad players now have a chance to shine against Walsall after Saturday’s double red-card shocker.

Mansfield will miss Ollie Clarke for one game, and expect to lose Stephen Quinn for three matches, following their dismissals against Harrogate.

Clough watched on as Mansfield U23’s beat Sunderland in the Premier League Cup on Monday night, with a number of players catching his eye.

“We have got players who featured in the u23s last night who have a game under their belt and have an opportunity to come in,” said Clough.


“It was a good game and I thought we scored good goals and played well.

Clough wants better defending from set-pieces

“I’m very pleased with the lads who played. You look for work rate and attitude and it is good timing.

Stags travel to the Bescot Stadium looking to half a slide of three straight league defeats.

Clough believes Mansfield are not far off where they need to be and is keen to see a change of fortune from the officials.

“We are not that far off,” he said. “We got off to a good start and then you look at the last three games, we've not been outplayed and we could argue for getting points from them all - but we have three defeats which hurts.

“We have to try and get draws when we are not winning to keep the confidence going, it is defeats that hit confidence.

“The players, I think, will be hurting right now, we have to emphasise the good we are doing and highlight what is costing us the game.

“We are not getting many decisions going our way. We had three decent penalty shouts on Saturday and then you look at what went against us at Colchester.”


‘More to come’ from Stags, says goalkeeper
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 7th September 2021

On-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Nathan Bishop says there is ‘still a lot more to come’ from Mansfield Town this season.

The 21-year-old is on loan from Old Trafford until the end of the 2021/22 campaign and has started every match in Sky Bet League Two so far this term.

Bishop says that despite the Stags being ‘knocked back a bit’ by their recent results, he has faith that the amber and blue can turn their form around.


“It’s been tough going [as] we’ve had a really good group of teams [to play against],” he told iFollow Stags. “Taking the first two games, they were really exciting games and we were in a really positive motion.

“We’ve been knocked back a bit [recently], but there’s still a lot more to come.

“In the first three league games we played good football, but sometimes it’s not about that. It’s just about winning the game.

“I think we did that in the first two league games, we won the games. It didn’t have to be exciting or outstanding, it just had to be a case of winning matches.

“I think we’ve been unlucky in the last few matches as we’ve had decisions go against us. It’s been tough stuff, but we’ll get there and we’re definitely on our way to getting three points again.

“[We need to] shut out the game, work hard and play the football that we know we’re capable of. There are individuals that are incredible in this team and it’s exciting to be a part of.”

Speaking of his own performances and areas in which he can improve, Bishop added: “I don’t think I’ve stood out so you can say ‘wow, he’s been unbelievable,’ but it’s about learning the team, learning the system and playing games.

“You have to be your harshest critic at times which I think is so important. As long as I’m pushing myself and we’re pushing each other, that’s the most important thing. That’s what I’m passionate about, keeping the ball out of the net.

“I had a short pre-season, so I only had a week to get to know everyone. It was positive to get to know everyone and get on good terms early doors.

“In terms of improvement, like at Colchester, I could shut the game out so much better. It shouldn’t come to a penalty in the end, because I can probably take more time [in possession].

“That’s learning the game and something I need to do more of.”

The goalkeeper says he is in regular contact with the coaches at his parent club, Manchester United.

“Both of my goalie coaches have been in close contact and they’ve spoken to me a few times. It’s nice to hear what they have to say about the games.

“Les Parry is head of loans so he’s been speaking to me and he was at the game at the weekend. It’s nice to stay in contact and hear from them as well.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Nathan’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.


Nathan Bishop keen to learn how to close games out at Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, By Stephen Thirkill, Tuesday 7th September 2021

Shot-stopper Nathan Bishop wants to learn how to close games out at Mansfield Town.

The Manchester United loan man has enjoyed mixed success in terms of results during his start to life at Stags.

After winning the first two games, Stags are without a win in four - with Bishop all too aware that the trip to Colchester should have brought maximum points.

Instead a Freddie Sears penalty five minutes into injury-time left Mansfield counting the cost.


“We can shut games out so much better,” he said. “I can shut them out better.

“I could have done more time wasting and taken a card when you look at the Colchester game.

“I was really close to keeping the penalty out. I was unlucky, but that’s football.

“We have played some tough teams and it has been tough going.

“We were playing some good football in the first three games, but sometimes it is just about winning the game and we did that in the first two games.

“We didn’t have to be exciting, it just had to be a case of winning. We have been unlucky in the last three games and decisions have gone against us.

“We were positive after the first two games and have been knocked back a bit.

“But it is exciting and we have got plenty more to come and points to play for.”

And Bishop also believes that there is plenty more to come from his own individual displays.

“I think I’ve done ok, but not stood out,” he added. “It’s about learning the team and system and playing games.

“You have to be your harshest critic at times. As long as I'm pushing myself and we're pushing each other, that is the most important thing.”