CLOUGH: McLAUGHLIN & MARIS PLAYED ON WITH COVID
All to play for says boss
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough reiterated his side’s steadfast determination to finish inside the top seven ahead of the final four, mouth-watering games of the season.
The Stags host Crawley Town at One Call Stadium on Saturday hoping to return to winning ways after two successive losses against Sutton and Carlisle.
Speaking to the local media ahead of the encounter with the Red Devils, the boss delivered a rallying cry of unity to the Mansfield faithful: “Stick with us,” said the gaffer.
“I know we’ve had some ups and downs at this club.
“I think this has been an unbelievable, rollercoaster season.
“To be in there challenging is unbelievable for everybody.
“Stick with us and we’ll do everything we can to get in that top seven.”
When speaking about the effort his squad had produced in the narrow 1-0 loss at Carlisle on Easter Monday, the gaffer revealed that duo Stephen McLaughlin and George Maris were playing with Covid-19.
“We had Stephen McLaughlin play yesterday with Covid, he hasn’t trained,” said Nigel.
“Him and George Maris have Covid at the moment.
“I don’t know if [they] get in trouble with protocols; there aren’t any [in place] anymore. You can do what you like now can’t you?
“They can’t do anymore, the players, at the moment than what they’re doing.”
The boss was displeased with some of the officials’ decisions at Brunton Park. Mansfield had a shot ruled to be not over the line by an assistant referee before an offside United attacker then advanced to bag the match-winner.
“[It’s] A mistake by the assistant [in the 41st minute] as we scored a perfectly good goal which is well over the line, and it isn’t given and then after that the same assistant fails to spot their lad [standing ahead of the last defender] for their goal when he is a yard offside.
“We controlled the game and created many chances. We were wasteful at times, but we were not wasteful on those two occasions as we scored a perfectly good goal and theirs was offside.
“Elliott Hewitt stands up and you can clearly see from the lines on the pitch [that the Carlisle attacker is offside].
“The assistant goes to put his flag up and then for some reason doesn’t.
“Our supporters have travelled seven or eight hours on coaches, and I feel they deserve better [decisions].
“We’ve had it now for 40 games and it started against Colchester on the third game of the season when we were in control in the 93rd minute and the referee inexplicably gives a penalty.
“It should have been three straight wins and intermittently over the next 40 games we’ve had some very poor decisions go against us.
“Every club will say they have had a few but I’ll ask any club to come up with as many as we have that have gone against us with two offside goals against Tranmere and the list goes on and on. I think us as a club, our supporters and players deserve better.
“We’ve had the decisions go against us in the last 40 games, but especially the one on Monday against Carlisle, the difference it makes is incredible.”
The Stags’ chief was pleased with the physical output of his squad in the encounter at Brunton Park yesterday.
“The lads were unbelievable,” he said.
“Dave Waldie, the strength and conditioning coach, could not believe it after the game.
“He [Dave] said to have that second game in three days and to be at that sort of level was incredible.
“I know that it is a big pitch and everything but his words on the coach were that he’s ‘never seen anything like that.’
“We were 15% above in our sprinting and we were 20% above on our high-speed running [compared to] the Northampton game, which was a very high physical game for us, so it was incredible.”
With three of the remaining four matches to play at home, the boss reiterated that everything is still to play for.
“[The aim is] To get in the top seven, that still remains the ambition,” he said.
“We should be three points off third place I believe we would be, after Carlisle.
“All we’ve got is four games left, we’ve got six hours of football to get those seven, eight, nine points whatever it might be.”
Speaking about this weekend’s opponents, Crawley, he said: “They’re one of the most underrated teams [in the division].
“They play in a certain way where they’ve got some good technical footballers for League Two.
“They play into feet, their movement is good, they rotate their players.
“With the run that they’re having, if the season had gone on for another few weeks; they would’ve been serious challengers for the play-offs.”
Top scorer Rhys Oates hasn’t featured in recent games and the manager provided an update on the striker’s fitness.
“[On the likelihood of Oates featuring against Crawley] 50-50 I would say. It’s getting to the stage where we’ll put him out there even at this stage.”
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough reveals that Stephen McLaughlin and George Maris played on while ill with Covid for the cause at Carlisle United
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 19th April 2022
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough today revealed that both Stephen McLaughlin and George Maris soldiered on for the club in yesterday's 1-0 defeat at Carlisle United, despite both being ill with Covid.
McLaughlin started the game while Maris came on as a sub, but the afternoon ended in heartbreak for Clough's promotion-chasers as Stags had the ball over the line but it was missed by the officials who then allowed Carlisle an offside winner to double the visitors’ frustration.
“We hadn't released what they had,” said Clough. “But I just wanted supporters to know that this is what the lads are doing.
“We are all frustrated as we should be in the top seven and closing in on the top three - we know that. But at this moment in time players can't do any more for us.
read more at https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-boss-nigel-clough-reveals-that-stephen-mclaughlin-and-george-maris-played-on-while-ill-with-covid-for-the-cause-at-carlisle-united-3659343?fbclid=IwAR2zoUJjUQSA4l7lcgQV4rFHwB2JPBBfEOfxR1KZV_XOhtyvhZ7nzhkcbLQ
“We had Stephen McLaughlin starting yesterday and he had Covid. He hasn't trained.
“Him and George Maris have got Covid at the moment.
“They travelled up to Carlisle on their own in the car, isolated in a room and we took food up to them. They didn't get changed in the changing room. They stayed away from everybody. We did all the things we could do.
“Stephen McLaughlin then played for 70 minutes with Covid.
“Both of them felt breathing problems.
“George Maris came on for the last 10/15 minutes and did the same.
“The players can't do any more and we get frustrated when they miss a chance or a ball across the face of goal isn't good enough or whatever.
“But we are talking about the base foundation here of absolute 100 per cent effort that your team is giving - and they are giving absolutely everything.”
He added: “Anybody who's had Covid will tell you it's quite debilitating - and that's with not even doing anything.
“People are up and down with it.
“I wish we didn't have this rule about the substitute not coming off at the halfway line as McLaughlin has to walk halfway round the pitch and we didn't think he was going to make it at one point he looked that tired! He was absolutely dead on his feet.
“The players were absolutely inconsolable afterwards. Ultimately the game came down to two mistakes by the officials. That dictated the result.”
Two Mansfield Town players who faced Carlisle United had Covid-19, manager Nigel Clough reveals
newsandstar.co.uk, 20 April 2022, BY JON COLMAN
Two Mansfield Town players who faced Carlisle United were infected with Covid-19, manager Nigel Clough has revealed.
One of the Stags' starting line-up and a substitute who came on in the game were carrying the virus.
Clough has revealed that Stephen McLaughlin and sub George Maris both had Covid but still played in the visitors' 1-0 defeat at Brunton Park.
“We hadn't released what they had,” said Clough in an interview on Tuesday, as reported by the Chad.
(quotes continue as per CHAD article)
United have not so far commented. The EFL have also been invited to comment.
(original article ends. Above sentence then removed and replaced with several more paragraphs:
Neither United nor the EFL have commented.
Clubs have been issued different levels of guidance throughout the pandemic, with the latest advice given after the Government's relaxation of Covid restrictions earlier this year.
Data throughout has shown that the risk of transmission between players in games was little to none.
Clubs, though, were advised to undertake their own risk assessments.
It is not yet clear whether United were aware of the presence of two players with Covid in the visiting squad on Monday.
Carlisle United No2 responds to Mansfield Town's Covid cases in Blues game
newsandstar.co.uk, 21 April 2022, BY JON COLMAN
Gavin Skelton says he was not aware that Mansfield Town had two players with Covid-19 before their game with Carlisle United.
But the Blues assistant manager says the Stags’ approach regarding the matter was “their decision and their business”.
Some United fans have criticised Easter Monday’s opponents after boss Nigel Clough said two players faced Carlisle despite suffering from the virus.
Clough said Stephen McLaughlin and George Maris had travelled separately from the squad, stayed apart from them in the build-up and had not used the changing room at Brunton Park.
Both, though, played in the game and it only emerged the following day that the pair had had the virus.
Skelton said: “I wasn’t aware of it but I don’t think they’re breaking any rules.
“The Government have got all their regulations and things.
“It doesn’t really affect us. I don’t think there’s any evidence of it being passed over on the pitch, and off the pitch we don’t have any contact with them.
“I don’t think they’re under any obligation to tell us, and that’s obviously their decision and their business.”
Asked if it would have been considered the decent thing for Mansfield to have informed United of their Covid situation, even if they had no legal obligation to do so, the Carlisle No2 said: “That’s their business, something they have to decide on.
“It is what it is. I don’t know when they got tested, when they found out, how far they were into their isolation.
“The rules have changed that much. I don’t know the full facts so I can’t comment without that.”
Boss Nigel Clough fury over crucial decisions as Mansfield Town ‘goal’ is ruled out and replays now show Carlisle United winner was a yard offisde
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 19th April 2022
Nigel Clough was today still raging about two decisions that cost his Mansfield Town promotion-chasers three vital points in yesterday's 1-0 defeat at Carlisle United.
The Stags boss was upset on the day by seeing the assistant referee miss Jamie Murphy's shot come down off the bar and cross the line that should have had them 1-0 up and in the driving seat.
And he was doubly incensed after replays then showed him that Omari Patrick's winner was a yard offside.
“Those two decisions cost us three points in the game without a doubt,” said Clough, as his side slipped out the top seven.
read more at https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/boss-nigel-clough-fury-over-crucial-decisions-as-mansfield-town-goal-is-ruled-out-and-replays-now-show-carlisle-united-winner-was-a-yard-offisde-3659380?fbclid=IwAR3v79dlMS_YGZcBfDCh6l-l-gr5d3rG1jRCoqcP3j1ibL_UZbLhUJ9NpdI
“There was a mistake by the assistant when we'd scored a perfectly good goal which was well over the line.
“After that the same assistant failed to spot their lad offside for their goal. He was a yard offside.
“Elliott Hewitt stands up and you can clearly see it from the lines on the pitch. The assistant goes towards putting his flag up and then for some reason doesn't That is the game in a nutshell.
“We played well and created lots of chances. Yes, we were a little bit wasteful at times, but we were not wasteful on those two occasions.
“Our supporters have travelled seven or eight hours to be there and I just think they all deserve better.”Clough believes his side have had the rough end of the stick on decisions all season.
“We've had it for 40-0dd games,” he said.
“It started at Colchester in our third game of the season where we're in control and in the 93rd minute the referee inexplicably gave a penalty. It should have been three straight wins.
“Intermittently over the next 40 games we have had some very, very poor decisions go against us. Every club will say that they've had a a few.
“But I defy any club to say they've had as many as we've had go against us. Two offside goals at Tranmere - it goes on and on - a litany of mistakes that have been made, unfortunately, against us.
“I think as a club our supporters and players deserve better.”
In contrast, promotion rivals Port Vale have had it go for them recently.
Clough said: “The difference is makes was underlined recently when Port Vale were at home to Oldham about 10 days ago and one of their best players made a tackle which was a red card all day about yards in front of the referee, who has an unimpeded view, and he gave him a yellow card.
“You compare that with George Lapslie's red card and it's incredible. So they should be missing that player and might not have won the game.
“Oldham are fighting relegation and ended up losing 3-2 when they should have been playing against 10 men and might have got something out of the game.
“It impacts their season massively as well.”
Clough believes his complaints over standards have gone nowhere.
“The head of the officials told me that when referees make a mistake they are stood down for a game or two to think about it,” he said.
“After the mistake against Port Vale that referee was not stood down. He has Exeter v Colchester a week later and ended up fourth official in a Championship game as a substitute last night - the biggest game in the Championship - Forest v West Brom.
“So when you've made a mistake of that magnitude, to get those two games is quite puzzling really.
“When Port Vale played at Hartlepool the handball which wasn't given in the penalty area, again from a referee unimpeded 10 yards away, is quite staggering as well.
“We have had the decisions go against us this season and the difference it makes is incredible.
“We were chasing Port Vale for automatic promotion prior to the two games and they get a couple of decisions go in their favour and we get a couple against us it makes a huge difference unfortunately.”
Unhappy Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough believes officiating standards are not improving
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 19th April 2022
Nigel Clough believes that even with the advent of VAR at the top, officiating standards in this country are not improving.
The Mansfield Town boss believes his side have regularly been on the end of some shocking decisions this campaign - no more so than at Carlisle on Monday when they had a goal ruled out that crossed the line and then lost to an offside winner.
“I think there's a very strong argument that says things are not improving and that the relationship between players, managers and coaches and officials is actually getting wider rather than narrowing,” he said.
“That is a very concerning thing.
“The advent of VAR at the top level has further highlighted it.
“First of all referees have an unbelievably difficult job, everybody accepts that.
“It's not the decisions or mistakes they make, it's how they make them.
“When you are a VAR official sitting in an office detached from the crowd and emotion of the game and you're shown freeze frames and slow motion from every angle and you still get it wrong.
“There is only one possible explanation - you don't know what you're looking at. There is no other explanation.
“To have VAR introduced and still get decisions wrong has been quite enlightening really.”
Mansfield Town new contract talks are on hold
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 19th April 2022
As the pressure intensifies on Mansfield Town's promotion hopefuls, boss Nigel Clough admitted new contract talks were on hold for his players despite deals approaching their end.
Clough knows some of his players could be out of work in a few weeks but, with the club's destiny still undecided, it is impossible for him to know who he will want to keep.
“We are conscious of it,” he said.
“When you're in the position we're in and you don't know what league you're going to be in next season - which is exciting and a position you want to be in - we have four or five players out of contract who don't know what they're going to be doing come 30th June when their deal ends.
“But there's nothing we can do.
“That's football and the best way anyone can try to earn a contract is by doing their job week in week out so whatever league we're in next season they stay around.
“We can't guarantee anything and I know that sounds very harsh when they're two months from being out of work.”
Mansfield Town hoping to have key players back for crunch clash with Crawley Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough is hoping to have key players available as a dangerous Crawley Town visit for a crucial clash on Saturday.
The biggest question mark hangs over top scorer Rhys Oates, who has been nursing a thigh strain while Stephen McLaughlin and George Maris both played with Covid last weekend and struggled.
But Mansfield will welcome back midfielder George Lapslie after completing a three game suspension.
“We have missed Rhys without a doubt,” said Clough.
“He is our most dangerous player, especially away from home when you need that bit of pace.
“Hopefully he will be back for the last four games and that will make a difference.
“When Rhys isn't playing, goalscoring becomes more of a problem for us.
“I would say he is 50/50 at the moment, but we're getting to the stage where we'll have to put him out there if it is that sort of odds.
“We will be guided by him and how he feels and everything. But we will do all we can to get him out there.
“George Lapslie is definitely available and we will see how the 'Covid twins are'. They are staying away for a couple of days to recover.”
In-form Crawley, who were recently taken over by cryptocurrency investors WAGMI United, have won five of their last six games including an away victory at play-off challengers Newport County with their only defeat seeing them pipped 2-1 at Salford City.
“Crawley are one of the most under-rated teams,” said Clough.
“They play in a certain way with some good technical footballers for League Two.
“Down there we dominated the first half, but second half, despite us winning the game, they came out and played some really good stuff. They play to feet and the movement is good. They rotate their players and everything. I think they are as good as anything and I love the way John (manager Yems) tries to get them to play.
“With the run they are having, if the season had gone on a few more weeks, I think they would have been serious challengers for the play-offs.
“But we just need to continue like we did at Carlisle. We have to take big plusses out of that and we know exactly where we lost the game.”
Home double so crucial for Mansfield Town promotion dreams
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas
Mansfield Town begin a possible season-defining two home games in four days with the visit of Crawley Town on Saturday with boss Nigel Clough unsure how many points Stags might need to stay in the promotion running.
With Steve Evans' Stevenage in town on Tuesday too, Clough said: “Four points might be a good return, be we are aiming for the six.
“If we end up with four we are still in there fighting with the other teams. Some are playing each other as well which will be important.
“We just have to keep playing. It's not about bouncing back from Carlisle as we have nothing to bounce back from - it was a good performance.
“We need to keep our levels high, physically, and just win. When you've had back to back defeats it is crushing at this time of season so you just need to win a game - and that's Crawley on Saturday.”
Clough emphasised how well his side played in the controversial 1-0 defeat at Carlisle on Monday, saying: “The lads were absolutely unbelievable.
“Our strength and conditioning fitness coach couldn't believe it after the game.
“He said to have that second game in three days and to be at that sort of level was incredible.
“I know it's a big pitch and everything, but his words on the coach afterwards were that he'd never seen anything like that.
“We were 15 per cent above with our sprinting, 20 per cent above with our high speed running.
“That's the other thing for the supporters - your team can't try any harder at the moment. They can't run any more.”
He added: “Getting into the top seven remains the ambition. We've dropped out of it for now but it doesn't matter.
“We have four games to go, three of them at home which is a huge advantage for us.
“I just hope we don't get too down about the decisions. When you get one or two against you, you can cope.
“But when you've had them over 40 games then players and supporters think it's going to happen again. We can't let it affect us. We have to win despite that. That's the challenge in the next four games.”
At Carlisle the officials missed a Stags 'goal' that clearly crossed the line and also then allowed the Cumbrians an offside winner.
“It's gone now,” said Clough. “ All we've got is four games left - six hours of football - to get however many points it takes to make sure we are in it at the end of the season.
“We now have to channel our aggression over what's happened.”
Clough knows he has to manage his players carefully both physically and mentally this week.
“We stopped for a beer on the way home from Carlisle and at one stage we stopped at the only garage that didn't sell beer which summed up the day,” he smiled.
“A beer won't do them any harm - just relax a little bit and then get focused for next Saturday.
“We are a good team and we've got some very good players, other managers tell us so all the time.
“I've told the players, yes, your families will always be the priority, but just behind that at the moment are these four games. Nothing else matters in your life.”
To supporters, he added: “Stick with us.
“I know we've had some ups and downs at this club I have been told - over recent times especially - but this has been an unbelievable rollercoaster season.
“To start so well then to have the dip we had to go second from bottom and people anticipating a relegation fight again, to now be in there challenging has been brilliant for everybody.
“Stick with us and we will do everything we can - as you saw the players do at Carlisle and as they have for the majority of the season - to get into that top seven. The players will give every ounce they've got.”
Derby County relegation so sad says former boss, Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 19th April 2022
Former Derby County boss and Nottingham Forest star Nigel Clough said he was sad to see the the Rams relegated to League One this week.
Mansfield Town manager Clough served Derby for four years but was sacked in 2013 and, after the club more recently became a financial car crash and had points deducted, they finally sank over Easter at the same time as local rivals Forest were pressing hard for promotion.
“It's been contrasting fortunes between the East Midlands rivals,” said
“At Forest everything is bubbling along lovely for them.
“I think every time they play at the moment something seems to happen.
“I don't think they got the breaks at Luton but apart from that everything has gone for Forest while at Derby it's been the opposite.”
He added: “It's very sad and I think a lot of Forest fans will be sad to see Derby go out the division as well as they enjoy the games and the rivalry.
“Although they will probably be gloating a little bit at the moment I don't think it's good for the East Midlands that they've gone out of the league.
“But it's a massive lesson to anyone who runs football clubs.
“For a club of that size and stature to end up in League One is very, very disappointing.
“I have lived in Derby for over 50 years and have a lot of friends who are Derby fans and they will be devastated.”
Crawley Town squad could be down to 15 for Mansfield Town trip
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Thursday 21st April 2022
In-form Crawley Town's stretched squad could be even barer by the time they visit Mansfield Town on Saturday.
Crawley have won five of their last six games and scored in a club record 17 successive away games (stats from Martin!!), but boss John Yems said they were still struggling for numbers ahead of thenclash with promotion-chasing Stags.
“I think we have 16 players fit and it could be down to 15 by Friday,” he said.
“We have had the same 16/17 for the last five games, but everybody has stuck together.
“We do have the division's most in-form squad but only as in form as their last game. And people are really taking it for granted what the boys have done and what they're doing.
“We have a really good squad with no big time Charlies. We are all here for one thing and that is to win games. We try not to have egos here.”
Yems was highly complimentary of Stags manager Nigel Clough.
“Mansfield have got one of the best managers I have come across and are one of the most organised football clubs - like it or lump it.
“They wouldn't be up there if they didn't deserve it. Whoever goes up, deserves to go up. There are some good people up there - look at the job Joey Barton has done at Bristol Rovers.
“It just shows you their character. Nigel is the same.
“Nigel has one of the most famous fathers in football - one of the best managers ever of all time. And he doesn't have to come from Sardinia or Greece or whatever. He learned his trade and Nigel has done the same. He has worked hard and he's go them working hard like he does.
“He is a football man and they are very rare lately.”
He added: “It is the people up at Mansfield that make the club, like here at Crawley, it's the fans. They will still be there long after we have all gone no matter what club you are at.
“Mansfield have been through their times. When Nigel has been where he's been some clubs might have panicked and got rid of him at the beginning.
“He stuck through it because he is experienced enough and he has got them playing good football.”
More quotes from John Yems press conference
"Hutch has got more positions than if he was in a porn film." referring to young loanee Isaac Hutchinson.
then at 12min15seconds he talks about Nigel Clough and staff "being good football people... rare these days", he says "when most people are talking about we had 65 possession and we've had 78 passes you've only had 10, how come you've won 6-0?"
Latest | April 2022