Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray apologised to fans for today’s humiliating 4-1 home defeat by struggling York City and admitted it was the worst day of his short managerial career.
He even ended an emotional press conference with suggestions he may have to consider if he wants to stay on next season, even if he does keep Mansfield in the League.
With three tough games to come next week, they will certainly struggle to pick up anything with a performance as bad as today’s against a side playing with 10 men for the last hour.
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“That was shambolic and the lowest point of my 20-odd games,” said Murray. “We were gutless, spineless and I am ashamed to represent that tonight.
“We didn’t do the basics. We didn’t defend set pieces, we lacked bravery in possession and we didn’t win any battles. The ball became a hot potato.
We were gutless, spineless and I am ashamed to represent that tonight
“We owe people an apology tonight. Every single person that came to the game deserves an apology. That was not acceptable.
“They were creating a number of chances so we had to do something. We were not dealing well with the conditions and we looked all over the place. But if you can’t rely on people to carry out their jobs you are in trouble.
“Working on things all week then going out and doing you own thing on a Saturday is pointless.
“The bottom line hasn’t changed as I have said all along this will go to the wire. We had a few wins recently, but we are not good enough to pull ourselves out of it and go through a time when we don’t need the points.”
He added: “Today showed we are a million miles away. Now we have three ridiculously tough games and the boys need to get their heads out of their backsides.
“There are no excuses. We showed no courage, no passion and no pride.
“We have vital things missing which I’ve known for a while.
“But we now have to dust ourselves down and go again. We have seven games left and we need some points.
“We have got to stick together. No one is going to help us. We are on our own. This squad of 23 players will carry us over the line.
“We can’t dwell on it or feel sorry for ourselves. Games are coming thick and fast and we now have seven World Cup finals.
“In both boxes we were awful. We couldn’t defend, we didn’t look like we wanted to score and in between we kicked it as far as we could and we don’t ask people to play like that.
“We didn’t look a team. We looked like an outfit that was scared to death. It’s ripped my heart out to be honest.
“Three months ago my remit was to keep this football club in the League. I will fight and scrap to do that which will then allow me a decision if I need this. Sometimes you’ve got to look at the battles you are fighting.”
In stark contrast, York boss Russ Wilcox was delighted with what could be a crucial win in saving his side from slipping back into the Conference.
Today should have been made a harder task when he had keeper Bobby Olejnik red-carded on 31 minutes for leaving his box and stopping a Rakish Bingham lob finding the net with his hand.
But York coasted home with plenty to spare and Wilcox said: “The main thing to take from today was the mental side of it.
“We spoke before the game that Mansfield would put the ball into our box at every opportunity, sometimes with quality and sometimes not, and we dealt with it very well.
“To play with 10 men for an hour and still manage to score two more goals as well and continue to show great shape, commitment and organisation was tremendous.
“We weathered a bit of a storm at the end and there were a few nervous moments at 3-1, but to get the fourth goal at the end topped it off nicely.
“It was the best performance since I took over because of playing for so long with 10 men at a difficult place against a big, powerful team.
“The three centre halves were immense, along with the rest of the group.
“That was the base to build from and they were the catalyst that kicked us on. They got first contact on most balls that came into our box and showed their experience.
“It was a brave decision to keep on two strikers when the keeper was sent off and take off my captain instead. “It would have been easy to take a striker off and say let’s try to see it through, but I wanted to keep two up the top and they caused problems all afternoon.”
He continued: “It was the icing on the cake to score from two corners. “They were two fantastic deliveries by Josh Carson and it just shows what can happen when you make first contact, you get opportunities to score goals.
“I am proud of the group, but we have to go again next weekend.
“Easter weekend is always a huge weekend with two games, nothing will be decided but if we can perform like that we can push ourselves further out of trouble.
On Olejnik’s sending off, he added: “It was a crazy decision by the goalkeeper.
“He didn’t need to come out, the centre halves would have dealt comfortably with the situation.”