CLOUGH, QUINN, PAUL SIMPSON REACTION
Boss commends clinical Stags’ display
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 14 Feb 2023
Manager Nigel Clough credited Mansfield’s ‘clinical’ performance in front of goal as Stags triumphantly beat third placed Carlisle United 4-0 at Brunton Park.
First-half strikes from Ollie Clarke, Alfie Kilgour, Lucas Akins and Elliott Hewitt helped to secure three crucial points in Cumbria.
Mansfield are now five games unbeaten in the league as their gap to the final automatic promotion place shrunk yet again.
Nigel was delighted with his side’s attacking display and their ruthlessness in front of goal.
“I thought we were magnificent tonight to get that sort of result,” he told iFollow Stags after the game.
“We were very clinical in the first-half, we finished our chances. Second-half we looked after our lead, still we were a threat [in attack]. [It] would’ve been nice to get another [goal] but not to be too greedy [as] we’d have settled for this [result] at the start of the evening.
“We scored good goals and put our chances away. That’s all it is, somebody putting their chances away when they come along. The first goal is always important and I thought it was a superb cross from Quinny [and] what a great header from Ollie Clarke.”
On what Mansfield’s great display was down to, he said: “Good everything, good preparation.
“We struggled with [selecting] the team a little bit. We didn’t know whether to bring a couple of pairs of fresh legs in because of the efforts that went in on Saturday [in Stags’ 2-0 home victory over Gillingham].
“But, having played so well on Saturday we thought we’d stick with the majority. The only change we had to make was George Maris who missed out [today] with a sore achilles.
“[The performance was] similar to Saturday, no mistakes, everybody did their jobs and that’s why we got the result that we did.
“[It was] probably the best result [of the season so far]. I’m not sure about the best performance, but when you win 4-0 away to third place in the league, it’s hard to argue with that. In pure football terms we have possibly played a bit better.”
“We just need to continue [our strong run of form], starting at Tranmere on Saturday.
“There are no wild celebrations or anything like that [from us]. [It was] just another job done tonight, there’s another 16 games to go. 48 points [are left to play for], get as many of those on the board as we can and then see where we are.”
The gaffer concluded with an update on the squad’s fitness.
He said: “Quinny got one [a knock].”
“Ollie Clarke came off at half-time with a calf, a kick on the back of his calf, didn’t think it was worth risking him at that point.
“Elliott Hewitt was doubtful before tonight, he’s got a whack on his knee.
“Kieran Wallace [got] a slight head injury, he got a whack when somebody caught him and it brings on this headache which he got a few weeks back. But he was very good and hopefully he’ll be all right for Saturday.
"I wanted to get Danny Johnson on, but Elliott Hewitt got a knock and with Taylor getting on and making his debut that was more important. Danny will get an opportunity when we need a goal. But when you don't need one, I thought it was more important to give Taylor his debut.
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough warns his side must keep their focus after convincing win at Carlisle United
chad.co.uk, Tues 14 Feb 2023
Mansfield Town boss insists his side have to stay focused following their 4-0 win at Carlisle United
Stags had the points wrapped up before half-time with goals from captain Ollie Clarke, Alfie Kilgour, Lucas Akins and Elliott Hewitt did the damage.
It leaves Stags just three points behind third-placed Carlisle United and with a game in hand over their promotion rivals.
“We have done nothing yet because there are 16 games to go and 48 points to play for and all we are interested in is getting a performance and a result on Saturday,” said Clough.
“It has been a good week and very important to have got the two clean sheets. There is nothing to celebrate yet and we will get ready for Saturday.
“The focus can only be on the next game and it has to be on the next 16 games. We all have to be ready at all times, including the subs.”
It left Clough delighted by the all-round contribution of the team.
“It has been coming a little bit in terms of it all clicking and we took our chances, very clinically.
“We didn’t come to sit back. We wanted to take the game to them and we did that from the first minute
“Once we got the first one we said go get the second. Alfie (Kilgour) is a big threat as long as we put the corners in the right place.
“Lucas (Akins) lead the line brilliantly, he got another goal and held the ball up well and caused them problems.
“It is a great finish from Elliott (Hewitt). We have never relied on one person for goals and never more so than tonight.
“We are getting the balance right in terms of Alfie coming in and Riley Harbottle coming back in. The back three/five are looking very strong.
“Jordan Bowery was excellent tonight. It is a great performance and a great result.”
"I thought John-Joe O'Toole was excellent when he came on."
"Christy is number one, and you see why tonight, his handling, distribution was excellent, but we know if he's struggling at any time what a brilliant back-up we've got (in Scott Flinders)."
On George Maris' injury: "I would think he is 50:50 for Saturday."
"I wanted to say how well Kieran Wallace did. He was as good as anybody in there tonight. The only reason he came off, he got a little knock in the head and his headache came on which happened a few weeks ago so we'll keep an eye on him."
Midfielder proud of ruthless Mansfield
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 14 Feb 2023
Midfielder Stephen Quinn was ‘proud’ of the ‘grit’, ‘hunger’ and ‘professionalism’ he and his teammates showed in their dominant 4-0 away victory over third placed Carlisle United.
First-half goals from Ollie Clarke, Alfie Kilgour, Lucas Akins and Elliott Hewitt set Stags into an uncatchable lead before the break in Cumbria.
Quinn played a key role in assisting Clarke’s opener on 14 minutes by steering an impressive left-sided cross onto the head of the skipper just ten yards from goal.
The Irishman told iFollow Stags after the game: “We’ve been working on them [crosses] lately. Elliott [Hewitt] has been ramping up and down that right wing putting superb balls in over the last month or so. If you don’t put the ball in the box you don’t score.
“When [the ball] got set back to me from Jordan [Bowery], I just thought I’ll whip one in. We’ve been working on getting bodies into the box. I just put it in there and the skipper did the rest. That was a great header.”
The Mansfield number 16 was delighted with the way the team started the match and then showed resilience to control the play and protect their lead.
“It was probably a complete away performance,” he said. “To come out of the traps the way we did and show hunger and grit, we were just all over them tonight, [it] was exceptional.
“We just clicked I thought. We got the shape right, the boys were on the front foot, it was just pure clinical. I think that [display] was coming, having watched us all season we always create chances, we were just so much more clinical in that first half [today].
“To back Saturday’s win [over Gillingham] up I’m just so proud of them [the team]. We’ve had a two goal advantage this season and we’ve gone on to lose the game so you’ve got to stay focussed and I thought we were focussed. We applied ourselves so well.”
The experienced midfielder insisted that he and his teammates’ focus turns straight away to Mansfield’s next task in hand, an away trip to Tranmere on Saturday.
Quinn said: “[This result] just builds up our confidence. We won’t get carried away, the gaffer won’t let us get carried away.
“We are all just focused on Tranmere now. We never get too high and we never get too low.
“We’ll see how we go. [It’s] another tough game, another tough away day and hopefully the Stags’ fans can come out and give us another good backing on Saturday.”
Carlisle United manager's verdict on Mansfield Town thrashing
By Jon Colman
Paul Simpson says Carlisle United only have themselves to blame for their 4-0 thrashing by Mansfield Town.
But the Blues manager said there must be no “panic” after the heavy defeat, and said unity will be the best way to respond.
Carlisle shipped four goals in a nightmare first half against Nigel Clough’s rampant Stags.
Simpson said his side did nothing well in that dreadful period.
“There's no excuses. We got turned over,” the Blues manager said.
“They opened us up with crosses, and won second balls because they competed better.
“That's the top and bottom of it. And we've only got ourselves to blame.”
Mansfield scored all their goals in a 24-minute period in the first half, through Ollie Clarke, Alfie Kilgour, Lucas Akins and Elliott Hewitt.
Carlisle could not muster a reply, although they held onto third place in League Two on goal difference.
The Blues have failed to score in their last three games and now face a challenge to respond in order to keep their promotion challenge on a positive track.
“I can’t think of anything we did right,” added Simpson. “There were unforced errors from everybody when we were in possession and the amount of times we put the ball out of play was incredible.
“I just can’t flower this up in any way. We were not at the races for the first 45 minutes and I don’t care who you’re playing against, you certainly can’t give the goals away like we did.
“We have to take it on the chin, learn from it, address it.”
Simpson said Mansfield were a quality side but Carlisle let themselves down in how they conceded.
That included a failure to track midfielder Clarke as he scored Mansfield’s opener.
Of their second, a corner headed home by Kilgour, the manager said: “I don't understand what's happened because players were given jobs to do and men to mark.
“Kilgour is very, very good from set plays and we specifically gave a player a job to do - and he's not the player who is challenging for it when the ball goes in.
“So we need to address it. We talk about set plays against, in knowing your job, which is the first thing: know what we expect of you. Then the biggest thing is going and doing your job. Sadly tonight we haven't done it.
“On the flip side, our [attacking] set plays, we had the delivery in and we never got anybody on the end of it. So we can talk about everything in the game. We probably just didn't do any of it very well.”
Simpson said level heads are now important in the way United respond.
He also said he was disappointed at some of the “sly” criticism he said he heard from some fans at the game - although praised supporters for how they remained behind the team after the break.
“We have to get dusted down from it, take whatever criticism that comes our way,” he said.
“I thought there were some sly comments [coming] our way, but in the second half I thought the supporters were absolutely fantastic with the team.
“I didn’t like some of the things I was hearing shouted from the Paddock in the first half, but I get it, we just have to accept that when we’re being beaten 4-0.
“In the second half the fans were outstanding for the way they stuck with us and I can only thank them for that because it was a difficult night for them as well.”
Carlisle must now regroup for a second home game in five days, when in-form Colchester United are the visitors.
“This is where the challenge comes now,” he said.” Because we have to have the right sort of reaction and we'll only get that right reaction if we stay calm and we stick together and everybody gets recovered and ready to go again at the weekend.
“There is no panic. Every game is going to be tough from now to the end of the season. We’ve got 15 games to go, and we’ve earned the right to be sat in third place so far.
“We have to address what we have and haven’t done in this game and get it right next time.”
MANAGER: I just can't flower it up
carlisleunited.co.uk, by Andy Hall
An uncharacteristic first half performance left United with only pride to play for after the break on Tuesday night as Mansfield took a healthy four-goal advantage down the tunnel and into their dressing room.
Speaking after full-time manager Paul Simpson said: “It hurts when something like this happens, but you have to just take it and you have to try and learn from it.
“I’m not surprised at how well Mansfield played, because I think they’re a good side, but what surprised me was how badly we played.
“This is the same group of people who, let’s be real about it, from the previous 30 games we’ve earned the right to be third in the table. That’s because we’ve gone about things properly, but for the first 45 minutes of this game we certainly can’t say that.
“I can’t think of anything we did right. There were unforced errors from everybody when we were in possession and the amount of times we put the ball out of play was incredible.
“The big disappointment was that we didn’t work hard enough to stop crosses, we didn’t compete enough for first and second balls, and I just can’t flower this up in any way.
“We were not at the races for the first 45 minutes, and I don’t care who you’re playing against, you certainly can’t give the goals away like we did. We have to take it on the chin, learn from it, address it, and we have to get ourselves ready for the weekend.”
Asked if it was 45 minutes of pain that was self-inflicted, he told us: “I don’t want to be disrespectful to Mansfield because they put some really good crosses into the box and we didn’t deal with them.
“We didn’t stick to our jobs at a set play for the second goal. Players had men to mark, and we didn’t stick to our jobs, they switched over, and I don’t know the reason for it. This isn’t the time for an inquest, when everything is raw, but we will go through it.
“The penalty is a penalty, Morgan got himself frustrated and I’m not sure he’d have made that challenge if it was 0-0, he’d have just let the lad head it up into the air.
“Collectively we lost our way, and again that’s from a group of players who have been absolutely fantastic for this football club and for us all in the first 30 games. It’s a huge disappointment that we have to take on the chin.”
“Like I say, at the set pieces I don't understand what's happened because players got given jobs to do and men to mark,” he continued. “Kilgour is very, very good from set plays and we specifically gave a player a job to do, and he's not the player who is challenging for it when the ball goes in.
“So, we need to address that. We talk about set plays against, in knowing your job, which is the first thing, know what we expect of you. But then the biggest thing is go and do your job. Sadly we didn’t do that on this occasion.
“Over the season we have been very, very good at defending set plays. But then on the flip side, our attacking set plays, we had the delivery in and we never got anybody on the end of it. It’s one where we can talk about everything going wrong on the night.”
After any defeat like that will come the obvious questions of why it went the way it went.
“Of course you ask that,” he agreed. “You’re asking questions about what’s caused it and where this has come from. I don’t know and I can’t find a reason right now, but I don’t think we’ve seen anything like that this season.
“It’s probably the reason why they were in the position they were in last season, when I got the phone call to come in, but we certainly went under in that first half. Like I say, we haven’t seen anything like that so far this season.
“We have to get dusted down from it, take whatever criticism that comes our way, but what I would say is that I thought there were some sly comments our way, but in the second half I thought the supporters were absolutely fantastic with the team. I can only thank the fans for that.
“I didn’t like some of the things I was hearing shouted from the Paddock in the first half, but I get it, we just have to accept that when we’re being beaten 4-0. In the second half the fans were outstanding for the way they stuck with us, and I can only thank them for that because it was a difficult night for them as well.”
With such a big mountain to climb, he confirmed that the changes made during the break were with doing something to change things in mind.
“We made the changes and, to be honest, I could have changed anybody,” he said. “I felt we needed to do something, and it had to be a change of personnel. I wanted to try to do something different.
“It was about going out and playing for pride at that point. I don’t believe in this whole win the second half thing, that’s a load of rubbish, but we had to make sure we played with more pride after the break.
“To be fair, we did work harder to stop crosses, and we tried to eliminate individual errors, and I wanted us to basically show what we’ve been showing all season so far. None of it was there in the first half, and we have to take it on the chin.
“We managed to get Jack Robinson on for his debut as well. It gave us a chance to have a look at him. I said to him, it's unfortunate. It's not the circumstances you would want to go on.
“But I felt it was a case of just getting him out there. I think he showed that he had a desire to get crosses in. He looks like a good physical presence.
“I can't think of any positives that we can take apart from the fact that we didn't concede in the second half. But sadly, there's a lot of disappointment. I trust them to be able to go again. I trust them to be able to lift each other and hopefully that will come this weekend.”
And on how the dressing room was come full time, he said: “Massively disappointed. They accepted at the end of the game that we went away from doing what we’ve done. And that's really all I can say.
“There was no ranting and raving. I didn't feel as though the end of the game in particular was a moment for ranting and raving. It was a time to just be calm. We can't lose anybody because they’ve all done really, really well.
“And I think the days have gone of the ranting and raving and throwing things around. It doesn't get the right reaction. What we have to do is just look after each other and make sure we come back stronger for it.”
What a magnificent performance.
A superb victory which was a joy to watch throughout.
Well done to Nigel and the players and thank you to the fans who made the journey to support our boys.
Onwards and upwards.
Latest | February 2023