Oxford’s promising start no surprise to Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray

Adam Murray.
Adam Murray.

Oxford United’ promising start is no surprise to their former player Adam Murray.

The Mansfield Town manager expects them to be among the frontrunners and ahead of their visit on Saturday, he said: “I should hope so ( a good start) with the players they’ve signed. There are some very good players and it’s a big club, a very big club.

“Their aim has got to be top three this season I would imagine, so it’s another good test for us but one we feel we can get something out of. They have signed players that can affect this level, but we are not going into it with any fear. We are confident in our ability.”

Murray said Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Accrington will be enough to see his players step up to the plate.

“I imagine and I hope there are a lot of sore egos in there this morning,” he said. “The group we have put together are a driven group and they know last night they took one on the chin. But winners come back fighting. With all due respect, last year I don’t think we came back fighting enough, but I know this group will and that’s the pleasing thing for me.

“Their ego and their pride has been battered last night as they know they should have got something out of the game. We go into these games expecting to win which is a good thing. We went into games like that last year and just said let’s get a point out of this and get out of here.

“In four to six weeks time I expect to see us pulling things out of those games.

“It’s been a tough month for us. Don’t get me wrong, everyone plays the same amount of games. Speaking to managers at our level, everyone finds this first month tough as you don’t get much time on the training ground to work, it’s game, game, game. It’s physically and mentally draining. But you have to go again. We have a lot of away trips this month so it’s nice to get back in front of our fans. We want to make this place a cauldron this season and we will both definitely play our part.

“It’s nice to be back and we are looking forward to Saturday.”

He added: “We need to keep our focus. We are a good side. But we need to make sure we learn from the little errors and make sure we get back on the horse as soon as we can.

“It was that frustrating at Accrington on Tuesday as we never got going. The ball was out of play constantly, the referee was blowing his whistle, there were little stupid fouls everywhere and we never got to create a rhythm and a tempo, especially after the first half hour. Teams that win things, these are the games you grind out. You see out a 0-0 then you go and win your next one. But that will come.

“We are confident as a group and we are positive. Everyone I speak too, even their manager last night when I spoke to him in his office afterwards, commented on what a strong team, we are. We are going to go places, I know where I can take this football club and this team. I will achieve that, there’s no doubt about that.

“But it’s a case of making sure don’t the ‘wobbly head syndrome’ that, when we win a game on Friday, we are going to win the Champions’ League and when we lose at Accrington we are going down to the Unibond.”

Stags’ supporters were in fine voice at Meadow Lane on Friday and Murray knows they will get behind his players again on Saturday

“I know the fans will get the place rocking on Saturday. We need them,” he said. “Credit to the people that travelled to Accrington as it’s a horrible journey on a Tuesday night, so we thank them and we are looking to put things right on Saturday.

“With putting new faces in and still finding each other out, we are a little bit up and down at the moment and at times at Accrington we looked a little disjointed, especially when we changed the shape. It does show there is still work to do, but the group is positive and our aim this season is to win.

“We are not going through it and saying let’s scrape through to mid-table. We want to be up there and this group can do that. We’ve got great belief in ourselves and the players have got belief in what we are doing.

“But it’s a building process. Everyone wants to see 4-4-2 with two flying wingers and two strikers and we put loads of crosses in and create loads of chances, but we are not there yet. We need to make sure we do things in sections. We need to make sure we are defensively sound first. Every time we go to two strikers and wingers we look like we are going to concede so we are not ready yet, but we will be ready soon.

“It’s a case of getting the mentality and solidness right and then we will build on that.

“It’s exciting times here and we will go again on Saturday. It’s a big test for us but we believe we can affect this league this year.”