Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans said he played it safe taking two-goal hero Danny Rose off at Morecambe on Saturday, despite the striker desperately trying to complete the club’s first hat-trick since promotion back into the Football League.
Rose, just back from a hamstring injury, was in superb form in the 3-1 win at the Globe Arena but was withdrawn on 77 minutes.
“I was delighted for Danny Rose,” he said. “We worked really hard to get him fit, then he had a little hamstring issue for a couple of weeks and that affected us a little bit as we’d just got him near where we wanted him to be.
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“I said to Danny we have got bigger pictures. The game was already won as a contest unless something stupid happened in the last few minutes.
“And we are still working hard on his fitness coming back from his hamstring injury.
“So there is always a danger if you leave him on that you take that heartfelt feeling you want him to get a hat-trick versus a real risk of he could get injured. It was an easy decision.”
Otherwise Evans was delighted to see his side get their just desserts after occasionally being short-changed in results recently, despite some excellent displays.
“We carried on the very good performance from Carlisle the week before and it has to be said in spells it was ever better,” smiled Evans.
“Some of the quality in attacking play was exceptional to watch.
“But I have said for the last four to six weeks some of our play has been outstanding and we’ve not had the rewards. The players got the rewards on Saturday and they are a fantastic group and deserve it.”
The win was achieved on another poor League Two surface.
“I don’t think it’s as bad as the one down in Cheltenham, though it’s not good,” he said.
“But we said before the game, as we did at Cheltenham, there can be no excuses about the pitch. It is what it is.
“But when you see the likes of Luton, Portsmouth, Grimsby and Cambridge all going to Morecambe and getting beaten, it just shows you that manager Jim Bentley has a dressing room full of players that, when the team are challenged by teams from the top end coming into town, they raise their game. There can be no doubt about that – statistics tell you that.
“Thankfully we produced a really good performance and could have won a lot more comfortably than we did.
“But we’d have taken the three points in any fashion, especially at this time of the season.”