CLOUGH, SWAN, STEVE COTTERILL REACTION
Boss applauds Stags’ finishing in Rovers’ rout
mansfieldtown.net, Sat 10 Feb 2024
Stags’ boss Nigel Clough saluted his side’s clinical finishing as Mansfield hit four past Forest Green to record an emphatic victory at The New Lawn.
Ollie Clarke sensationally netted the first and fourth while frontmen Tom Nichols and Will Swan were also on the scoresheet.
Stags were ahead 1-0 at the interval despite a valiant attempted fightback by the hosts.
But Mansfield upped the gears after the break and wore down Rovers’ resistance.
“I think the scoreline flatters us a little bit,” said manager Nigel Clough, speaking to iFollow Stags.
“I just think it was [about] how clinical we were with the finishing. I don’t think it was a four-nil game.
“The teams at the top get a little bit of a break at times and the confidence kicks in and that was the difference between the two teams today.
“I think Forest Green had a few spells in the game, certainly in the last twenty-five minutes of the first-half where they were on top. We had to defend extremely well to keep a clean sheet and got away with one or two as well, which is often the difference.
“We said at half-time that we have to play better in the second-half. We changed formation within five minutes to give us a bit more solidity.“
The manager was pleased to see new signing Tom Nichols score his first goal for the goal and effectively kill off the contest to double the advantage.
“The first goal is always important but I think the second goal, especially in the context of the game today, was important also. We can then get fresh legs on.
“It was important for Tom Nichols to get his first goal for the club.
“We thought the smaller, more agile, nimble lads would cause the three centre-halves a few more problems and it couldn’t have worked out better. Tom’s scored and Will’s got one today.
“Then you see the strength of the bench, when you can bring Quinn on and Akins on, Hiram, Macca, and it doesn’t weaken the side.
“I think the bench today is the best we’ve had all season. You look around today and any of them could have started the game.”
Pleased with a second successive clean sheet, Nigel added: “We keep emphasising to the players, ‘keep professional right until the end and take great pride in your clean sheets’.”
Great start to February but big win at Forest Green Rovers flattered us says Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Sat 10 Feb 2024
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough hailed his side's fine start to February, but felt the margin of today's 4-0 away win at bottom club Forest Green Rovers perhaps flattered his promotion-chasers.
Ollie Clarke netted a brace with one each for full debutant Tom Nicols and Will Swan saw off Rovers and kept Stags in second place.
“The thing that has stood out from the last two games have been the clean sheets,” said Clough
“We have three big games this week and, having not won since New Year's Day in January, to start this month with two wins and two clean sheets set us up nicely.
“Today again we had to work hard for it as I don't think it was a 4-0. I think that flattered us slightly.
“It was just the quality of finishing and confidence of a team at the top and one at the bottom that was the difference today.
“They caused us problems for the last 25 minutes of the first half and also into the second half at times as they have some good players.
“Steve (new Rovers boss Cotterill) has got them playing and I think to lose 4-0 today was a bit harsh for them.
“We got away with one or two situations and, most important, we were clinical at the other end.”
Clough continued: “I do think we need to be a bit better in certain areas - we gave them too much encouragement.
“We got the early goal and then it was almost as if we thought it was going to be easy today. It never ever is and Forest Green came right back into the game and had the rest of the half.
“We needed that second goal as it's never over at 1-0.
“They were getting back into it and we changed formation a bit to be a bit more solid.
“That was probably our strongest bench of the season today too.”
Swan: Confidence is flowing following recent goalscoring form
mansfieldtown.net, Sat 10 Feb 2024
Striker Will Swan says scoring two goals in the last three matches has given him ‘confidence’ that he’s getting back to his best as Mansfield beat Forest Green 4-0 on the road this afternoon.
The forward bagged Stags’ second of the afternoon and impressed in a dominant display in Gloucestershire.
Speaking to iFollow Stags post-match, Will said: “It [the goals] gives me the confidence that I’m starting to get back to where I was last season, scoring goals again.
“It’s frustrating going through a patch when you’re not scoring, especially as a striker.
“It’s a really good feeling to get two goals in the last couple of weeks.
“I’ve been ready and waiting for my chance so I’m grateful that I have been able to put a couple of performances together.”
On the team's perfomance, he added: “It was a nice day and a good pitch and that helped us play.
“I think we put in a really good performance, and I think on another day we could’ve had two, three or four more goals.
“We created a lot more clear-cut chances [than the opposition] and when we did, we put four of them away.”
Will started the match in attack with new signing Tom Nichols as the duo both scored at The New Lawn.
“I’m used to playing up there with Lukey [Lucas Akins] but I enjoyed it.
“I think we worked well together.
“He scored a really good goal. We’re just gelling for now, but I think the chemistry is already building between us.
“He knows where a striker wants to be, and I know where I would want to be, so I think we just have that sort of knowledge between us.
“I’m getting the ball and looking for him when I do get it.”
The frontman believes today’s result and the previous win over Notts County will help carry confidence into Tuesday night’s match at home to Harrogate.
“It gives us a lot of confidence after going through a bit of a dry spell at the start of the year.
“I think that starts from the win at home against County. We’ve been playing well, just getting a bit unfortunate with results and decisions.
“To get the win against County and here today is a big confidence boost.”
Swan so happy to be back among the goals for Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Sat 10 Feb 2024
Revitalised Mansfield Town forward Will Swan was delighted to again be among the goals for the Stags after today's 4-0 away win at Forest Green Rovers.
Swan has had an up and down season but looks to be back in the first team start reckoning and netted his second goal in three games at the bottom club.
“Lucas (Akins) got down the right, there was a bit of eye contact between us so he knew to cut it back to me, and I just managed to slide it in at the near post,” he said.
“I am really enjoying it. It is always frustrating being on the bench for a while. But you always have to be ready to put on good performances when called upon.
“It can be hard when you're only getting five or 10 minutes to really make an impact in some games. But when you do get a bit longer on the pitch it is important you capitalise and make an impact on the game.”
He added: “It was a really good team performance today.
“These are the games you can come to and slip up sometimes.
“So to come here and get three points against a good side is really big for us in keeping pressure on Stockport at the top.
“When teams get a new manager and new players they can surprise you.
“But we came here and tried to play like we always do, and we could have played better and scored a few more goals to be fair. But we're just happy to get the three points.”
It was a second win and clean sheet in as many games for a Stags side that went four without a win in January.
“It never felt like we were off track though,” said Swan.
“It was just that we were a bit unlucky in how results were going. We have been playing well since the New Year and it's really good we are starting to turn those performances into wins now.
“Sometimes things are going for you during a season and sometimes not, but you have to keep morale high through those frustrating losses. I think we have done a good job of that.”
“You have to try and take the positives because at the moment there have been enough negatives”- Forest Green Rovers boss Steve Cotterill after Mansfield defeat
gloucestershirelive.co.uk, By Alfie Ryan
Forest Green Rovers boss Steve Cotterill said that “we were the better team for 60 minutes by a mile" after his side’s 4-0 home defeat against Mansfield Town.
The visitors opened the scoring after just 11 minutes when Ollie Clarke’s volleyed effort found the bottom left corner past Luke Daniels.
Rovers were on top after the goal up until the Stags’ second.
On the response, Cotterill said: “We were the better team for 60 minutes by a mile, the second goal really deflated us. So, you are already working with boys that have been low on confidence, so then it is an uphill task.
“Like I said, the second one broke our hearts because it sort of stopped our running, stopped our landing on second balls and stopped our competing and we have to do the unsavoury side of the game.”
Mansfield doubled their lead after 68 minutes when Tom Nichols’ strike found the bottom left corner after a pass from Swan.
The Stags scored their third goal in the 78th minute through Will Swan, assisted by Lucas Akins.
The three points went back to Nottinghamshire after a fourth from Mansfield and a second by Clarke, after he was there to easily tap home, assisted once more by Akins.
It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Mansfield around the top of the table come May.
On today’s visitors, Cotterill said: “I think they will be well up there for promotion. We are not going to play everyone that is up there like them every week, you have to try and take the positives because at the moment there have been enough negatives.”
Rovers’ keeper, Daniels, was subbed after 63 minutes when he left the field on a stretcher.
On the goalkeeper’s injury, Cotterill said: “I think it is a gash, but I haven't managed to see that yet. When I have finished with you I will go straight back and see how he is.”
As a result of Daniels’ injury, Jamie Searle was substituted on for his league debut for Rovers.
On his performance, Cotterill said: “I don’t think anybody who would have been in goal would have saved any of them, they were that close.
"Where they have got the ball and rolled it into the box, all of a sudden they have got runners and those finishes were clinical.
"We got into the same sort of areas with Matty Stevens in the first-half and we didn’t have enough runners off of him so we can’t expect him just to do it by himself.”
Emmanuel Osadebe won the sponsors’ player of the match and on the midfielder’s performance, the Rovers boss said: "I didn’t think he was our man of the match, I thought that Christian Doidge was.
"I thought that he was our outstanding player but congratulations to Manny.
“I thought he (Doidge) was magnificent, he was heading the balls out of our box and then chasing the ball that he had headed out and closing down. I thought he held the ball up, I thought he was strong, I just thought he was magnificent today.”
The Rovers boss did praise the fans’ support today, he said: “It has been a tough old watch for them this season as well.
"Without a shadow of a doubt, I need them behind the boys out on the pitch, we really need that.
"I thank them for their support today because it is really easy to support your team when you are winning and you are top of the table, it is not so easy to back them and support them when you are down at the bottom.”
Forest Green remain nine points away from safety despite Doncaster’s 2-1 win over Tranmere Rovers. Grimsby Town’s 3-0 loss to Stockport keeps the Rovers the same gap adrift.
On the gap remaining the same, Cotterill said: “I suppose that is a bonus, it is just a dent confidence wise. There have been improvements, I feel that.”