FLITCROFT, OLEJNIK AND JOE DUNNE REACTION
Manager disappointed for fans following stalemate
mansfieldtown.net, 22 SEP 2018
Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has said he is ‘gutted’ for the travelling fans after he saw his side concede an 88th minute equaliser against Cambridge United at Abbey Stadium this afternoon.
Mansfield led for the majority of the contest courtesy of Danny Rose’s effort in the first half, yet George Maris’ deflected strike in the closing stages ensured the sides finished with a goal apiece.
Manager Flitcroft explained that he is disappointed that the 475 travelling Stags’ fans did not see their side bring all three points back to One Call Stadium.
“It’s a test of your character,” he said. “You have to make sure in match-winning moments you are true to that. Those moments can’t be questioned.
“We’ve probably had to deal with more set pieces than we’ve dealt with [before] today. And we have done. Really well.
“But it’s really important that it’s a 100% focus. We had a good following today from our supporters and we didn’t get three points for them.
“I’m gutted for them [fans]. After 88 minutes we’ve got three points in the bag and we’ve given them up.”
The Stags’ boss went on to analyse his side’s performance, and cited the second half display as the reason for not earning victory this afternoon.
“It’s only a point. When you’ve got three in the bag and you give them up, to lose them so late, it rips your heart out,” added Flitcroft.
“We stopped moving the ball second half and stopped being brave on the ball. We gave Cambridge too much time and kept inviting crosses.
“We got into good positions in the last third of the pitch and we almost just gave those opportunities up, which allowed them to come at us again.
“The lads did well in the first 30 minutes to get the goal, and we looked comfortable. It’s almost like we then don’t want to go on and hurt a team and be really ruthless.
“It gives teams hope. It allows them to throw bodies forward. They did that and they thoroughly deserved the equaliser.
“We have to do better in those key moments and control the game. We didn’t control the game in the second half.
“I question the character of the players to get in those key positions and keep being brave and making angles. [We have to] have that no fear approach, but we didn’t.
“Our ball retention in key areas, we didn’t keep the ball or do enough on the ball. Today it’s not about chances created. We’ve had to sit in and they’ve come at us second half. When we’ve counter-attacked, there’s not been enough quality or care on the ball.
“[We had to] keep doing what we were doing when we were 1-0 up. We didn’t do that.
“When teams are getting beat, they’re going to come at you. You have to be resolute, and we were for 88 minutes.
“I think Timi Elsnik came on and out care in his work. He tried to get us some control of the game.
“They had players in advanced positions and kept asking questions. The crosses that he [Olejnik] takes, it [his performance] was almost immaculate. Real pristine work.
“I look at Bobby’s performance today as almost a perfect performance from a player. Focused, concentrated, and he excelled today in key moments.
“We need a squad full of players that are prepared to do that. We didn’t get that right today.”
The manager went on to praise Rose’s 26th minute finish, before speaking of what he believes was a ‘deserved’ leveller for the hosts.
“We worked the ball wide really well. We’ve been working on when Danny is playing that we have to cross earlier and get the ball into him.
“We did first half. We asked questions of Cambridge and our work was good and really consistent.
“It was just anticipation from Danny and a desire to score goals, which is what he’s all about. In that moment his quality was there for all to see. It was a really good finish.
“The hunger to score that goal was key for me. When you have Danny in the team you do have to cross the ball earlier than what we perhaps do at times.
“Cambridge threatened and deserved that [equaliser]. He’s [Maris] had time to sight it and time to look down the ball and get a shot off. It probably would have gone over but they’ve probably deserved that little bit of luck.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Mansfield Town ‘weren’t good enough’ says frustrated David Flitcroft
chad.co.uk, Saturday 22 September 2018
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft was left frustrated with his side after they conceded a late equaliser at Cambridge United. The Stags were ahead for a long time when Danny Rose broke the deadlock on 26 minutes and had further chances to extend their lead before George Maris levelled for the hosts two minutes from time. He said: “We were resolute for 88 minutes and we’ve decided not to close that line of the ball down. “It’s a moment you look at on 88 minutes, if we could have had a bit more drive to close the ball down then he doesn’t get a clean shot. But he got a clean shot. “When you break it down as to why they possessed so much dominance in the second half it was clear that in the critical moments in transition we gave the ball up. We were loose. We didn’t care enough to protect the ball. “Up to scoring and just after we looked a very good team. We looked in control and looked to dominate. The style of play was there. We really deserved the goal and coming here it was really quiet. “I think, with the form of Cambridge, the supporters are probably thinking here we go again. But we didn’t ride that. If you’re going to be ruthless and take all three points then it’s important that in those moments you stick it to them and make sure there’s no coming back from it. “Second half there wasn’t enough bravery to get on the ball to dictate and dominate play. We gave the ball up too much again for them to throw it down our throat.” And, speaking of the last 30 minutes, added: “Because they committed so many forward we had open space. “But we gave them the ball back. We didn’t threaten them enough. We didn’t hurt them enough. Really good counter attack opportunities that we let slip by. It was a day where it seemed OK to let things go by. “It’s not good enough when you’re in the league, you’re winning and you’ve got something to really hold on to. That should galvanise the spirit and we didn’t hold on for long enough.”
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-weren-t-good-enough-says-frustrated-david-flitcroft-1-9362307
We deserved a clean sheet, says Olejnik
mansfieldtown.net, 22 SEP 2018
Goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik believes his side deserved a clean sheet following a fiercely-contested 1-1 draw with Cambridge United.
The shot-stopper looked to be on the way to his second clean sheet in the Stags’ Sky Bet League Two campaign before George Maris’ 88th minute equaliser dashed his hopes.
He made a string of fine saves throughout the match to keep the U’s at bay, but they proved to be made in vain when a deflection carried the ball home two minutes from time.
Olejnik aired mixed feelings following the draw at Abbey Road, firstly stating that he felt the defensive performance warranted a clean sheet.
“I think we all did [deserve a clean sheet] because as frustrating as conceding is I think we’ve defended well as a back five,” he began.
“Every corner, every cross I thought we were going to deal with it and we did - it’s just one of those things where we haven’t been able to see the game out.
“As a goalkeeper you pride yourself on clean sheets and it’s a bit frustrating not to keep that clean sheet. It’s really frustrating at the minute to not see that game out and get the win.”
The 31-year-old also spoke regarding his own form, citing his equal number, Conrad Logan, as one of the main factors behind his run in the Stags side.
“As a ‘keeper you try and be a seven or an eight week in week out, and that’s the objective you go in with.
“You have to give your backline a confidence to rely on their jobs rather than worrying: ‘Oh what’s he going to do behind me’.
“It is frustrating [to not be starting games] and a lot of it is down to Conrad; he’s been outstanding whenever he’s played and it’s been difficult being on the bench but at the same time there’s nothing else I can do apart from watch and learn,” he continued.
“That’s what I’ve been trying to do and he [Logan] has taught me a lot in terms of game management because he’s a very experienced goalkeeper.”
Finally, he showed his disappointment in not being able to take all three points following another late goal.
“A win, especially here, would just lift us but at the moment it’s just not quite happening,” he stated.
“Yeah it does [feel like a loss]. It’s always the case when you concede late on I know we’ve got a point but for our objectives this year a point’s not good enough. I think we need to do better next week.
“I just try and take it game by game, do my best and help the lads as much as possible.
"As I said I thought the defenders were outstanding [today] so a lot of credit has to go to them for helping me with my performances in keeping the ball away as much as possible.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Bobby's interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
A point was the 'minimum' Cambridge United deserved, says Joe Dunne
cambridge-news.co.uk, By Andrew Georgeson, 22 SEP 2018
Joe Dunne said that a point was the ‘minimum’ that Cambridge United deserved after their 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town.
The U’s left it late against the Stags, with George Maris’ deflected effort in the 88th minute earning Dunne’s men a point, after Danny Rose’s first-half goal gave the visitors the lead.
From there they could have won it, with Liam O’Neil and Reggie Lambe going close.
However, in a second-half half when Alex MacDonald and Rose, among others, also went close to doubling Mansfield’s lead, a point was probably the fair result.
“I thought a point is the minimum of what we deserved a day,” Dunne said.
“We pushed a good side, I thought we dominated the second half, had lots and lots of shots on target, things deflecting wide, goalkeeper making saves, getting into good positions, (it was) a real tough display.
“It was close in the first half, there wasn’t a lot of space. It was hard to create too much although we forced corners and were on the front foot.
“The manner of the goal was disappointing but I thought overall the minimum we deserved was a point.
“We got that, it shows a bit of resilience about us. It stops the bleeding if you like, but great credit to the team, I thought they were fabulous today.”
The U’s head coach, who was swamped by his players after Maris’ equaliser went in, also praised his side’s attitude at half time, saying the conversation was “player-led” after they conceded another soft goal.
“(At half-time) We asked for a bit more aggression than the first half, a bit more front-foot play and we got that,” he said.
“Yeah the first half was always going to be tough, but I don’t mind that as long as you stay in the game and I thought we were still in the game and I felt that if we could up our aggression and up our front-foot play we could get something back.
“The players really believed that at half time, they were good at half time. The changing room was player-led, which hasn’t happened often this season, so I’m proud of them.
"I think some of them are going to the fight tonight (Joshua vs Povetkin) so I said to them 'go and enjoy it, you've been in one fight today so go and enjoy another!'"
The U's boss also praised the Abbey crowd for sticking with the team when they were starting down the barrel of a fifth consecutive home defeat.
“It’s good that we’ve put in a performance at home, it’s good that the whole Abbey crowd were great today as well,” he said.
“Never, ever did we drop our heads and the crowd never went low either.
“(The goal was) a great reward for a really hard performance against tough team. We’ve had to dig in and show that resilience with a good point.”
He added: “Maybe a couple of weeks ago, with the mood we’ve been in recently, we would have lost that one but the boys have really dug in and great credit to them and great credit to everybody this week, it’s been a hard week.”
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