Cox slams Stags for lack of hunger as play-off dream dies

Paul Cox  -Pic by:Richard Parkes
Paul Cox -Pic by:Richard Parkes

An angry Paul Cox said his side’s tame surrender in the 2-0 home defeat by Cheltenham Town this afternoon had made up his mind about some of his players’ futures with many out of contract this summer.

The result ended Mansfield’s faint play-off hopes while also making sure Cheltenham are in League Two with them next season.

Veteran Jamie Cureton struck a second half brace to seal the win in a poor game in which the Stags manager was furious over his side’s lack of hunger.

He said: “You can’t blame this on the end of the season as we had performances like this between October and December.

“It may sound hard and like I am talking with my heart and not my head, but I will not stomach a performance like that.

“What is has done is make my mind up about players in terms of being able to take this club forward.

“Some of them are as plain as the nose on your face while a few more are a bit more cloudy and I will have think more before making important decision on players.

“We have turned this into a winning club over three years and I don’t want to stand still.

“There will be a lot of footballers out of work this summer and it is a tough, nasty world out there with people working a lot of hours for not a lot of money.

“That was not what we are about today. People call us big and strong but Cheltenham were bigger and stronger than us today and showed more fight, more running and more desire than us. We showed a lack of hunger. Yet on Friday we still had a chance of the play-offs.”

He added: “Not one of my players can turn round and say they thought they had a decent game today and that’s a sad state of affairs.

“I am jealous of the clubs in the top three and envious of the clubs in the play-offs. Over a season you finish where you deserve and it looks like we are going to finish in a mediocre position.”

Robins boss Mark Yates said: “We have been decent away pretty much all of the season,” he said. “And our supporters were superb today.

“It is a tough place to come – the land of the giants. Mansfield have some big, strong players and have got a way of playing which suits them. They have pace and power.

“But I thought we were great from start to finish. We competed well and had our chances in the first half and were unlucky not to come in ahead.

“After about 10 minutes of the second half we got it together, scored and played some decent football and ran out deserved winners.

“They threw three up front and put us under pressure. But we stood firm and showed we can defend.

“I don’t want to dampen the mood after doing well but it’s come too late.

“Away from home our form has been good but we have found it tough at home all season.

“We have not been able to string two wins together and that’s now the challenge for us next Saturday.”