Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray said tonight’s 1-1 friendly draw worked out to perfection for him as he tested his side’s defensive capabilities against Championship newcomers Milton Keynes Dons at One Call Stadium.
Although, the game, and this coming Saturday’s visit of Premier league Leicester City, were planned to see how his side coped under pressure, Stags even took the lead through Nathan Thomas before being pegged back after the break.
To read a match report click HERE
But it was an impressive showing and Murray said: “That was exactly what we needed, wanted and expected.
“I said before the game that we were now starting to work on the defensive side and organisational side of our game.
“I knew we would get that from Milton Keynes and, especially first half, we set up to defend deeply so that when we come up against the better sides in our league this season we showed we can keep our discipline and see it through.
“Also when we did nick it, I wanted to see how quick we could break and score. So tonight was perfection.
“If you’d seen our training session yesterday it was a mirror image of that tonight. Milton Keynes are a top quality outfit with clever movement, so I am chuffed with the boys.”
Nathan Thomas came up with another spectacular finish and Murray said: “Nathan is a kid who was built up as the next big thing then probably made a couple of bad decisions in moves.
“But he has a real passion to prove people wrong. He is an aggressive so-and-so and, if we can harness that, we have got ourselves a player.”
Striker Matt Green was another to catch the eye on the night and Murray added: “You have seen today he’s beat two centre halves up for an hour then we’ve sent Chris Beardsley on to do the same in a different way.
“Matt’s movement was superb and his hold-up play is getting back to where he needs to be.”
There was no Ryan Tafazolli in the squad and Murray did use an unnamed centre half trialist after the break, creating the inevitable whispers.
“Krystian Pearce has not trained since Tamworth so he needed a full game and Lee Collins has played a lot of football,” he said. “Ryan didn’t need the minutes tonight and there are plenty more games coming up.
“We looked at a trialist tonight as I feel we are still a bit short in that department.”