CLOUGH AND WILDER REACTION
Manager praises supporters in ‘cracking cup tie’
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday 8th January 2022
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough highlighted the importance of the home supporters as the Stags were edged out 3-2 by Championship side Middlesbrough in a riveting cup tie at One Call Stadium.
The narrow loss means Mansfield have bowed out of the competition, despite a gutsy second-half fightback.
Speaking to iFollow Stags after the game, the manager saluted the supporters inside One Call Stadium.
“We’ve never managed or played at too many places where they stay and give you such an ovation,” he said.
“For the effort and the quality of the performance, not always the result [the fans applaud].
“We saw it here against Port Vale when we drew a good couple of months back and today was the same thing.
“We lost the cup tie, a little bit unlucky but they stay and show their appreciation.
“I think that [appreciation] is good for the players to hear.”
A 95th minute own goal from Elliott Hewitt saw the Stags’ promising FA Cup run come to an unfortunate end.
“We’ve had three cracking games and should have made it through to the fourth round today,” the gaffer said.
“From 25-30 minutes [onwards] in the game [it was] absolutely brilliant stuff.
“We had more than enough chances, to get more than the two goals [we scored].
“I think we’ve been playing well for a few weeks. We still have to do it against Swindon and Walsall and so on in the next four months of the season.
“[We take] A lot of encouragement from it [the performance against Middlesbrough]. I just hope we learn not to lose the game [late on].
“I thought it was a cracking cup tie for anybody watching it here in the stadium but we’re here to win.”
Despite playing against tough opposition, the manager was pleased with the performance from the amber and blue.
“The main thing we wanted to do today was have a good go at them,” he said.
“To make it as uncomfortable as we did for them is an accomplishment.
“To get back [into the contest] I think [we then] got so close to winning the game today.”
The gaffer also provided an update on the ongoing contact situation of defender John-Joe O’Toole.
“I think it will be sorted out one way or another before Tuesday,” said the boss.
Watch the manager's interview in full at: mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.
On John-Joe O’Toole’s contract situation, Nigel Clough told Radio Nottingham after the game: “I think it will be sorted out one way or another by Tuesday night.”
He then went on further to tell Mansfield 103.2: “we’re still talking. It’s a difficult situation for him because he’s got another couple of weeks with us but if he’s not going to stay then it’s a difficult position for him keep playing and risking injury when he only has two weeks left. I think one way or another it will get sorted in the next few days. But his commitment won’t change whether he’s got two weeks or two years left, and you saw that today, he couldn’t have tried any harder today.”
On Ryan Stirk injury, Clough said: "Not sure. He felt his knee, he went down straight away and hold his hand in the air. Then he felt ok. Then he felt it again. A bit worrying but we'll see how is this week."
On Stephen McLaughlin injury: "He felt his calf towards half time."
On Ollie Clarke being subbed: "He's been out with injury for some time, also had Covid. So I think an hour was about the maximum for him today."
On Farrend Rawson: "He is still isolating. Not sure on the days, got to get a clear test before he comes back in."
On Oli Hawkins: "He would have played up front today if Rawson had been fit. And the couple of situations we had with Oatesey would have been much easier chances for him."
On Jason Law: "He did very well. He was a bit unlucky to be left out after his Boxing Day performance. It was eye of the needle stuff to put Rhys Oates clear."
On the disallowed goal: "It seems unbelievably tight from what we've seen."
Nigel Clough proud of Mansfield Town after defeat in FA Cup thriller with Middlesbrough
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday 8th January 2022
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough was proud of his side's brave fight in today's FA Cup exit to Middlesbrough.
Stags fought back from 2-0 down against Championship opposition to level only to lose to a stoppage time own goal in a fabulous cup tie.
“We have had three cracking games and should have made it through to the fourth round today,” he said.
“I was very disappointed with the first 30 minutes - I don't think we started well and that is what cost us ultimately going 2-0 down.
“But from that point on I thought it was brilliant stuff from us.
“If they had got a third it would have been game over.
“But stay in the game at 2-0 and get one back and you hear the crowd reaction. Then we scored an absolutely brilliant equaliser. But it was to no avail when you concede a poor goal again in the 95th minute.
“Middlesbrough' s quality showed in the end, especially with their first goal.
“We had situations much better than that but didn't work the goalkeeper or hit the target.
“We had more than enough chances over the course of that hour to get more than two goals.”
The defeat ended a run of 10 wins in 11 games for Mansfield and Clough said: “We have been playing well for a few weeks and it's a little more satisfying to play like today considering the quality of the opposition.
“We will take a lot of encouragement from it but need to learn how to not lose the game.
“It was a cracking cup tie for anyone watching it. But we are in here to win. We didn't really want extra time but we'd have taken it rather than get knocked out.
“Then main thing today was to have a good go at them.
“It would have been easy to crumble at 2-0 down. To make it as uncomfortable as we did for them was an accomplishment.”
Chris Wilder gives huge credit to Mansfield Town after they pushed Middlesbrough right to the end
Teeside Gazette, By Craig Johns, Saturday 8th January 2022
Middlesbrough prevailed in the FA Cup third-round tie but Mansfield made them work hard for it
Chris Wilder made sure to credit Mansfield Town for their cup heroics as they came close to upsetting Middlesbrough, with the Boro boss admitting they deserved to.
After a chaotic week saw many changes needed to his now settled Boro side, Wilder was more relieved than anything else as they won 3-2 to seal their passage to the FA Cup fourth round.
But they rode their luck in the second half as Mansfield dominated and created plenty of chances against a tiring Boro team.
Showing immense spirit, Wilder's side somehow managed to find a late winner deep in stoppage time as they caught the Stags on the counter, with Wilder conceding after his side hadn't been at their best.
That said, he didn't want to take anything away from the League Two hosts who he believes would have beaten most Championship clubs on the day.
Wilder said after: "I'm delighted in this moment to get through, particularly after the late equaliser and it looking like it would go to extra time. And it would have been deservedly so for them. I thought that would have been the least they deserved.
"There was no thought process apart from seeing if we could edge ourselves in front again. Jonah missed a chance just before the winner and Dijksteel too, but thankfully we found that last little bit that sends us through in a really competitive tie.
“I’ve got to say, we give an enormous amount of credit to Mansfield Town and the manager, the players and the supporters as well because it’s a difficult one for them when they go two-nil down but their team rallied and they rallied.
"I’ve got to say, I think there are plenty of Championship clubs that would have been knocked out today here and I think that goes to show what we’re trying to build and create here. We want to see technical players, yeah, but sometimes you have to grind one out.
“We were up against a manager who’s got a history of cup upsets, a team that’s on a fabulous run, vocal home support. A team that’s got nothing to lose against a team that’s got everything to lose and chuck in all the other bits and pieces, the result is the main thing and we’ve got through a really tough tie which epitomises what the FA Cup is all about."
The victory ensured Boro's winning momentum and run goes on.
It's now seven unbeaten and five wins in a row, with Boro showing that desire again, this the second consecutive game they were forced to pick themselves up from a late equaliser to win it with an even later winner.
The message from Wilder remains the same though, and that's not getting too carried away.
"That is always the message from me, that’s the type of guy I am and the type of club that I want us to be and how I want it to look like.
"I think teams would have come here today, dipped their toe in and would have been hurt. Fortunately, we didn’t get hurt by getting knocked out of the competition.
"With the hand we’ve been dealt this week and the team we had to put out, it was about being competitive and rewarding our yet again loud supporters with a result.
"I think they’ll be yet again going home happy but knowing they’ve seen a right struggle. But it was always going to be that way.
"We’ve shown that we can slug it out. I wouldn’t say we were up against it because we’re a Championship club with Championship players with a squad that has to deal with afternoons like this, and we did and I’m delighted that we have."
High praise for Mansfield Town fightback from Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday 8th January 2022
Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder said Mansfield Town's fightback in this afternoon's FA Cup thriller came as no surprise to him.
And he had nothing but the highest praise for the Stags as Boro sneaked through with a stoppage time John-Joe O'Toole own goal after Mansfield had fought back from 2-0 down in 14 minutes to level.
“You've got to love the FA Cup though I didn't love it when it went to two each,” he smiled.
“I liked it in the first 20-25 minutes as I thought we got right out the blocks.
“But I have to give an enormous amount of credit to Mansfield Town - the manager, the players and the supporters.
“It's a difficult one for them when they go 2-0 down but their team rallied and I knew, without sounding clever, this was going to be a really difficult afternoon for us. So it proved to be.
“But, after the week we've had and the issues we've had, we'd find ourselves in round four on Monday we would have taken that.
“The result is the main thing and we've come through a really tough tie that epitomised what the FA Cup is all about.”
Wilder said Stags were a match for any Championship club on the day.
“Even if we were at our strongest, this would have been a difficult afternoon,” he said.
“Any Championship team would have struggled today. We are a Championship team and we had a fight and struggle to get through.
“We were up against a manager who has got history with cup upsets, a team on a fabulous run, a vocal home support, and a team that has nothing to lose against a team that has everything to lose.
“I wasn't surprised they got back into it and they had some chances before that. We rode our luck through that period and we didn't defend the two goals very well.
“We can play better but we had players out there who hadn't played much and it was an incredible experience for the young boys.”
He continued: “It was a huge test for us as a football club and we have come through it with a mix and match team.
“I can't take anything away from Mansfield today. They gave everything today for the manager and the supporters.
“They had won 10 of their last 11 games and Nigel who has done it. I knew he would fancy it and he has history and form in these type of games.
“I think people up and down the country would have tipped this game as a potential result for Mansfield.”
Painful one to take losing that late on but now we concentrate on the league
Daniel Johnson @Johnson11Danny
250th professional appearance. All started against Mansfield now 250th for Mansfield against my hometown club. Results a hard one to take but pleased to be back out on the pitch