While being as pleased as punch with his side, Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray described today’s sensational 4-3 win at Dagenham & Redbridge as a ‘massive wake-up call’.
He also revealed there was a half-time bust-up among his players in the dressing room after a first half in which Stags squandered an early lead to go 3-1 down before Matt Green’s spot kick success gave them a lifeline.
Then it took two late goals by Krystian Pearce and Adi Yussuf to snatch the points just when it looked like a one-way second half might see the east Londoners hold on.
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“That was a massive wake-up call,” said boss Murray.
“We spoke from Tuesday about the type of opposition we’d be coming up against today. It was one that as a manager and a coach it was difficult to plan for because their position at the minute doesn’t represent the good players they’ve got and the good manager they’ve got.
“The kind of attacking team they are, they will always cause you a lot of threat. So it was a disappointing first 40 minutes because we didn’t put the plan into practice like we did on Tuesday and got punished for it.
“But my team were immense second half with their desire to win and their passion for the shirt, not to give in or let their team mates down and keep going. Also to have that belief to push on.”
He added: “I did expect a game like that. There are a couple of teams in this league that I don’t like playing against because I think they are very good in certain aspects of what they do, and Dagenham are one of them.
“Wayne (Burnett) has got them playing attacking-wise in a way that at times it’s hard to play against them. You saw first half they caused us all kinds of problems.”
Before the game Stags had the third best goals against record in the entire Football League with only six conceded. So, having let in three in 45 minutes, tempers flared at the break in a heated dressing room inquest of what had gone wrong.
“We had a bit of a bust-up at half-time,” said Murray. “The lads went for each other. It was head to head, but it got broke up.
“That’s what winners do. They don’t settle for second best. We push each other every minute of every day and we got the reaction second half that we wanted.”
The winning goal came from sub Yussuf – his first League goal.
“I am over the moon for Adi to get that goal as he has worked his so-and-so’s off and he deserved it,” said Murray, who got so carried away with celebrating the goal he couldn’t remember what happened.
“I’m not actually sure what I did, but I wasn’t in the technical area, I know that,” he said
“But this is what we do it for. We work hard and like I said to the boys, sometimes the monotonous work we do in our preparation is for moments like that.
“It’s a massive win and it’s great to put back-to back wins together.
“One of our main strengths this season so far has been our defensive resolve, our structure, and our organisation and discipline, and we didn’t show that first half. So it was a wake-up call.
“At half-time I asked them to be the players they are. Some of those players can go on to play at a much higher level – they are only young lads.
“We had to sacrifice Jack Thomas after the first part of the game as we needed to put it on them and put them under a lot more stress then we were. It was nothing against Jack – just a tactical change, and it worked.”
He added: “We don’t die. We refuse to let each other down. As staff, as players, we are a family. You’ve seen our fans today – wow, they were incredible.
“Dagenham is three hours, three and a half hours for some, but we are a family and we stick together. When the chips are down we are learning to fight together.
“That hasn’t been the case for a few years at this club. “Everyone has fought in different directions. At this moment in time we are all fighting the same battle. As long as we do that we’ll be fine.
“We were good second half, but when you come to places like this, we knew they needed the win and we know what it’s like. We were there last season. You suffer in confidence.
“For me Dagenham have got one of the best managers in the league. He has got some great ideas and over the years the teams he has put together have been superb. We’ve seen what they did to us first half.
“Obviously that little bit of a lack of confidence they have in their group, we had to play on it. Like Crawley, we knew it would be a weakness.
“We are over the moon with the win, but like I said on Tuesday, congratulations are the seeds of complacency.”
Stags’ opening goal was a stunning volley from left back Mal Benning on his weaker right foot. But it was no surprise to Murray, who said: “That was from the training ground. Like I say we work on things, and one of them is getting our full backs overloaded in certain areas. He nearly had one on Tuesday. But what a finish.
“Also, the way that Adi at that time in the game got into the position for the final goal, then the composure on his weaker foot for the final goal was superb.”
Now Stags will unwind from the rigours of their first back-to-back wins of the season inside five tough days.
“Saturday/Tuesdays are always hard,” said Murray. “We will have some good recovery time now and the boys can enjoy what’s been a super week for us. But we will push on again now and we are back at home next week.
“I’ve never had three triple bypasses before in a game. Today was good, it was bad, it was unrealistic at times. It was frustrating at times and it was super at times.
“We passed it so well at times and did the ugly stuff when we had to, put them under stress and won second balls.
“Tonight belongs to the players for their endeavour and their work rate and their togetherness. They had to dig deep together as a group today, and they did it.
“You saw our supporters at the end and what it meant to them. Again it was ridiculous support, so let’s go through this journey together and see where we end up.”