After a promising start to the season Mansfield Town are now six games without a win and have lost their last five matches in a row, conceding thirteen goals in the process.
Manager Nigel Clough said after Saturday’s defeat at Walsall “All over the pitch, I thought it was an inept performance from start to finish. But certainly defensively.”
“When you concede two goals straight down the middle of the pitch, it’s very difficult.
“We’ve conceded far too many goals and you saw a negative reaction from us”
Clough had earlier called for an improvement in defending set pieces, stating “All the good things we are doing at the moment are being overshadowed by our defending of set plays.”
Mansfield conceded ‘another’ goal from a set play against Walsall, adding to the six goals against Bradford and Harrogate conceded in a similar fashion, the Manager stating “We keep working on it and stressing the importance of defending them well. There are so many good things within our performances, but we are just not dealing with the corners and set plays that are coming in.”
Stags skipper Ollie Clarke echoed his Managers statements in saying “We hit the ground running as we wanted to, but unfortunately we’ve come away from it in the last few weeks. We’re not keeping the ball out of the net and it’s highly frustrating for everyone.”
Clarke said “We haven’t had some decisions go our way and we’ve made individual errors all over the pitch.
“We just have to dig deep and work as hard as we can. We’re not a million miles away as we’re creating good chances. But if you can’t keep clean sheet, you will struggle to win games.”
The Stags are back in action on Saturday and have a few days to work on their defensive frailties during training but have a tough test next up as they host high flying Rochdale who are fifth in the table. Mansfield, now 20th and just two points above the relegation places will be hoping for a fast return to form to kick-start their campaign again into what was an expected promotion push, but despite scoring nine goals in their opening seven games, the against column needs to be severely reduced if the Stags who have conceded the second most in the league, are to improve their fortunes and move back up the table.
Nigel Clough knowing the significance of a return to form verses Rochdale, suggesting “It’s glaringly obvious the problems we have and we need to fix them. We have a few players missing, so we’ll need everyone, including the crowd, on Saturday.”
*Main image @mansfieldtownfc Nigel Clough has seen his sides form dip of late.