Stags manager Cox slams players for lack of mental strength after derby day defeat by Alfreton

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PAUL Cox today warned he may bring in new players on 1st January if the current Stags squad show any more signs of mental weakness after they allowed neighbours Alfreton Town to come from behind to win 2-1 at the One Call Stadium in the rain today.

The Mansfield Town boss also warned he would not tolerate any players daydreaming about the FA Cup tie with Liverpool on 6th January with so many crucial league games to play before the big day.

“It was a local derby and we had not played for a couple of weeks, so I thought my players would have been more energetic than that,” said Cox

“We lacked that mental strength today. It was a big game for us and I expected more from us. We had the lion’s share of the possession and the territorial advantage today. But they don’t win you football matches. It’s all about putting the ball in the net and keeping it out the other net.

“This is a very important time coming up.

“The window is opening and all the big clubs will try to strengthen. If we are going to compete at the top we need to get mentally stronger as a unit, either with this group of players, or I will have to bring in people that are mentally strong.

“We do have some very good players and a lot of young boys in there. But teams that win a championship would take the lead like we did today but then grind it out and keep a clean sheet.

“Between now and 1st January it is a very important time that will tell me if I need to strengthen.

“ If we are going to be there or thereabouts we need to be winning games like today and not talking about a bad day at the office.

“It is the first time we’ve lost in a lot of home games. But I can’t find a nice slant on it. I am gutted.

“I hope people are not keeping an eye on 6th January as that will not be tolerated.

“We have a lot of big games coming up and I wanted the players to embrace the great run we’d been on and go on a bit of a run like last year.

“It has not happened today and we have now got to dust ourselves down as we have a massive game here on Saturday.”

Stags allowed Alfreton back into the game within two minutes of taking the lead before giant defender Exodus Geohaghon allowed himself to be out-muscled off the ball for the second half winner.

Cox said: “We switched off twice in the game. When you have scored, the most important time is that five minutes after. But we gave away a sloppy free kick and and were then punished for sloppy defending.

“Then, as a defender, you need to be stronger for the second goal.”