COX AND KEITH HILL REACTION
Video: Paul Cox after Rochdale game
We're in a relegation battle - Cox
Manager Paul Cox is urging our players to show much more character in their upcoming games, following today’s disappointing 3-0 loss at Rochdale.
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Our team’s winless streak was extended to 13 matches with this dismal defeat, which has left us teetering on the brink of the drop zone in Sky Bet League Two.
Cox, who held frank discussions with his players in the dressing room for nearly an hour after the final whistle, has also frankly admitted that our team are stuck in a relegation battle.
“I’m a realist,” said Cox. “I said after the Accrington Stanley game that we’re in a relegation battle and that is the only way you can sum things up.
“The thing what does me is that this is the same group of players that lost two of their first 13 matches at the beginning of the season, and we’re in the top three.
“I look at some of the teams we played and some of the things what have made us arrive at this place [near the bottom], and sometimes we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.
“The little period [of matches] where we lost man after man, you see confidence drain from the players, but I’ve asked them now to stand up and be counted.
“That’s what I’m about. I think some of the players do understand, but we’ve got tough games ahead and nobody is going to feel sorry for us.”
On the dressing room lock-in, Cox said: “I’ve had a good chat with the boys in the dressing room and I thought today was a performance that looked as though we felt sorry for ourselves.
“That worries me, because if the lads want to stick their heads in the sand and hope this [poor run] goes away, then it’s going to be a while before we win a football match.”
He continued: “We’ve all got one or two things off our chest - both myself and the players. We need to build from tomorrow, where we’re going to watch the DVD and highlight things what we can improve.
“When confidence is low and people seem to be losing their heads, you look for mental strength in people and I’ve been trying to get across to the boys that this [situation] isn’t going to go away.”
Despite winning no fewer than seven corners, our side failed to register a single shot on goal during today’s match - something which has frustrated our manager immensely.
“When you play with three forwards, it’s a tough [fact] to take really,” continued Cox.
“I think when you’re down there [near the bottom of the table] and the players are in that dilemma, it’s hard sometimes, but players have got to drag themselves out of it.
“As a group, we’ve got to start taking responsibility for on-the-field issues, doing the little basic things better, and creating our own luck.”
Dressing room lock-in for Stags as boss Cox calls on fans to stick behind the players
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox held a heart-to-heart 45-minute post-match dressing room lock-in after today’s tame 3-0 surrender at Rochdale saw them go a 13th League game without victory.
Cox said the run had seen his side’s confidence drain away, but called on fans to back their players now more than at any other time ahead of Sunday’s tough trip to Cheltenham Town.
“I am a realist and we are in a relegation battle, however you try to dress it up,” he said.
“I have had a good chat with the boys in there.
“I thought today’s was a performance that looked like we left sorry for ourselves. That worries me a lot as, if lads want to bury their heads in the sand and believe this will just go away, it will be a while before we win a football match again.
“We have all just got things off our chest, me and the players, and tomorrow they will be in to watch the DVD with me and we look at the performance and I will tell them where I think things can be improved.
“At the moment, when confidence is low, a lot of people seem to be losing their heads. I am just trying to get across to players this will not go away. It is what is is.
“It’s all about doing the basics again. Rochdale did them well, worked extremely hard closing us down and three great balls in delivered three great goals.
“Football doesn’t feel sorry for you. Life doesn’t feel sorry for you. Sometimes you just have to fight back.”
Stags failed to even muster a shot on target against a debutant keeper today, despite playing three strikers, and Cox said: “It is tough. When you are down there, it’s hard sometimes. You have to drag yourselves out of it and stick together.
“As a group they have to take responsibility with on-field issues. We just sometimes shoot ourselves in the foot. You can see confidence draining away.
“It is now time to stand up and be counted and I think some of the players understand that. We have some tough games ahead of us.
“I keep saying if we don’t get back on the horse quickly, it gets harder. We are in a bit of a rut and as quickly as we can, we need to get out of it.
“We are lacking in confidence and belief and we look anxious. But this is the same group of players that everyone was patting on the back earlier in the season and the majority of whom won this club a championship last season.
“No one questioned the manager, players or our style of play earlier in the season. We have had two and a half years of success so this hurts.
“It is a bit foreign to me as in the last six or seven years I have never been through this for as long a period. But I do believe we will come out if it.
“I won’t let it get me down as I never let myself get too high or too low. I stay level. I wasn’t shouting from the rooftops when we won the league or took Liverpool so close in the FA Cup.”
Cox knows a section of Mansfield fans are now calling for him to go and he added: “I just need to get on with my job.
“I would never condemn the fans for having passion. I know a minority sometimes go over the top. But most fans have been been behind me 100 per cent since I came here.
“I can understand the frustration. It is easy to lose you heads when we are where we are.
“But we now need the fans more than at any other time.
“We are not losing football matches on purpose. The players are working hard, but are looking a little lost at the moment.
“There are still 72 points to play for and a lot of football to be played. There is also a massive open window for us next month when I need to add a bit of quality to this squad.”
Westlake may stay on longer with Mansfield Town
Nottingham Post by Matt Halfpenny
DARRYL Westlake will remain at Mansfield Town for the rest of the season - if manager Paul Cox has his way.
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Westlake-stay-longer-Mansfield-Town/story-20374952-detail/story.html#ixzz2ol9RBZp4
While his team are on a wretched run of form, having not won for 13 League Two games, the Stags boss has been impressed with what he has seen from the Sheffield United loanee.
The former Walsall right-back is due to return to Bramall Lane on January 4, the day of Mansfield's game at Exeter City.
But Cox is hoping to ensure the Sutton Coldfield-born 22-year-old has been re-engaged in north Nottinghamshire before then.
Westlake has so far made six appearances for Mansfield since joining at the end of November.
"We're thinking about extending it with Darryl because he is a good player and we need to be adding to the squad," said Cox.
"We are talking to Sheffield United about getting him until the end of the season if we can.
"It's obvious that we are looking to add some extra quality to the ranks and Darryl is someone who falls into that category."
Cheltenham Town v Mansfield Town: Paul Cox - One minute you're a hero, the next you're public enemy number one
Nottingham Post by Matt Halfpenny
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Cheltenham-Town-v-Mansfield-Town-Paul-Cox-ndash/story-20374947-detail/story.html#ixzz2ol97CpYZ
WHAT'S the difference between a good football manager and a bad one? Just a matter of a few weeks, according to Paul Cox.
Having followed up last season's Conference title triumph with an eight-game unbeaten run in the early stages of the 2013-14 campaign, the Mansfield Town boss could seemingly do no wrong.
The team were defensively sound, players were chipping in with goals from around the team and local rivals Chesterfield had just been conquered on their own patch.
Three months on and, remarkably, the Stags are still searching for their next League Two victory, having gone 13 games without one.
Another winless match at Cheltenham Town tomorrow afternoon would equal a club record run of games without tasting success in the league.
It is a spell that has, if you believe a recent supporters' club survey, turned the fans firmly against their manager.
A total of 81 per cent of a sample of around 250 fans after the Accrington Stanley game, which they lost 3-2, wanted an immediate change at the top.
Cox, however, remains defiant and upbeat.
He is adamant he will turn it around over the course of the campaign - so long as he is given the chance. After all, he's been in this particular boat before and eventually swapped a paddle for a turbo-charged engine.
"If you look at management sackings it's not the way forward," said boss Cox.
"I'm not saying that because I'm under pressure. I was saying this when I was top of the league.
"I remember the boy from Newport (Anthony Hudson, who worked with Jose Mourinho) when he first came in and said he was going to be the next 'Special One', and I knew how tough that would be to live up to.
"And if you look at the stats there aren't many managers that come in and after having that initial impact, and improving results, don't then have a lull and it levels off.
"Have I become bad at my job? Results would suggest so and I see an awful lot of people, looking, shouting at and questioning me.
"But I'm always one who remembers those people in the next phase - and there will be a next phase, one way or another.
"It's amazing that only 12 or 13 weeks ago people were telling me to be loyal to the club to stop me going to a League One side.
"But I understand the game. One minute you're a hero and the next you're public enemy number one. I understand that when you lose matches people are going to boo and want your head on a plate."
Although Cox is keen to add 'quality' to his squad, he is still convinced the majority of the current problems, as the team head for the Abbey Business Stadium, are mental and not about ability.
And he cited Boxing Day's opponents Rochdale, who were 3-0 victors over the Stags at Spotland, as a good example of how to do the simple things well.
Cox added: "For three years on the trot here and at Eastwood I've been in a similar position and I know psychology plays a massive part in football.
"After the Kidderminster game last season, when we went on the run, I knew we were going to win and the players knew they were going to perform. That's not management, that's just psychology.
"What we are doing at the minute is that some players are doing things they think will get them out of this rut, things above and beyond, when it's doing the basics well that will get them out of it.
"Rochdale were a good example. With the ball they were decent and without the ball they were excellent. They closed us down, they put a foot in.
"I think we are a million miles away from where we were last year and I've said that to the boys.
"People question tactics and things like that, but they were the same that ran Liverpool close last year (in the FA Cup), one of the biggest clubs in the world.
"When you're in a rut, it's a belief. It's getting that back into the boys to enable them to win the game."
Despite the weight of public opinion having seemingly ebbed away, Cox feels there are still those who are backing him.
And, crucially, for the moment at least, chairman John Radford remains in his corner.
"I've had quite a number of positive emails and texts and people come up to me and shake my hand in the week up to Christmas," he said.
"I would never not want the supporters to have their say - and I know we have a passionate lot.
"But from what I'm told there's a lot of people still behind me."
twitter Martin Riley @LifeofRiley6
Can only apologise for that performance! I will be looking hard at myself over the next few days
Hill happy with Dale progress
Keith Hill says Rochdale are right on track in their quest for promotion after a routine 3-0 win against Mansfield at Spotland.
Two goals from Scott Hogan either side of a Matt Lund strike completed a smooth victory for Hill's men against a Mansfield side which failed to test Dale's debutant goalkeeper Robbie Thomson.
"At the moment, we're right on point, we've won 50 per cent of games this season and it was an excellent result today," declared Hill.
"We're right on track. We've kept a clean sheet, we've won 3-0 at home after scoring three good goals and it could have been more. It was a very professional performance.
"It's about trust, I trust these players. They've not let me down all season. We've had two superb training sessions this week. Having the weekend off was good as it rejuvenated us and gave us a lot of energy."
The home side dominated the opening 45 minutes and were good value for their two-goal lead by the interval.
Hogan opened the scoring after six minutes when he rose between two Mansfield defenders to meet Graham Cummins' cross and send a firm header into the top corner of Alan Marriott's goal.
Dale doubled their lead on 13 minutes when Peter Vincenti's low delivery across the face of goal was turned into the net by Lund at the back post.
And the home side wrapped up a comfortable win when the third came five minutes into the second half, Michael Rose crossing towards the near post and Hogan turning the ball past Marriott for his second.
Latest | December 2013