Colchester United boss John McGreal warns his players to focus on Mansfield Town trip amid excitement of drawing Manchester United in the cup

Colchester United manager John McGreal.
Colchester United manager John McGreal.

Amid the excitement of drawing Manchester United away in the Carabao Cup, Colchester United boss John McGreal has warned his in-form side to focus and not get carried away with a tough trip to Mansfield Town ahead on Saturday.

The U’s have only lost three times in their last 18 games in all competitions and on Tuesday reached the Carabao Cup quarter-finals for only the second time in their history, then were handed a plum draw.

However, McGreal said: “We can’t take our eye off the Mansfield game.

“Now it’s back to the bread and butter of the league and it is a tough, tough game for us.

“We know it’s going to be a really tough game and over the last three or so years I’ve been here, they’ve been close and tight games against Mansfield.

“It’s down to us to try and put in a performance and try and win a game of football.”

On the Stags, he added: “They have some fantastic players.

“They just missed out in a play-off semi-final and they’ve been in and around it, similar to ourselves really.

“We know a little bit about each other but they’ve had a change of manager.

“They’ve got some really good experienced players but it’s again down to what we do.”

McGreal warned against a repeat of past mistakes.

“They may be feeling that it’s little bit of after the Lord Mayor’s Show for us and we’ve had that in the past when we’ve played the likes of Newport,” he said.

“We have to be on our mettle on Saturday because if we don’t, we’ll get turned over by a good Mansfield side.

“The boys have to bring themselves back down again and implement the work on the pitch and be professional.

“They’re the ones going out there and proving that.

“We’re a progressing team and we feel like each game is a different challenge – that’s the way we look at it.”

He added: “We feel like we’re in a bit of good form at the moment and we’ve recovered after what we felt was a poor performance against Morecambe.

“But we have to realise where we were prior to that – eight games before the Crawley game we were top of the form table.

“We weren’t doing that badly before the Morecambe game and there was a little bit of an over-reaction, which you get in football which we understand.

“We used the criticism in a positive way and we took four points out of six in the league and into the cup quarter-finals.”