Veteran Exeter boss Paul Tisdale said he expected pre-season promotion favourites Mansfield Town to improve their position in the League Two table before too long.
Tisdale, talking ahead of the two sides meeting at the One Call Stadium on Saturday, admitted that he picked out the Stags when asked in the summer to select the teams he thought would be contesting promotion.
“They were one of the teams I was expecting to push towards the top of the table,” he said.
“They have got a manager who knows what he is doing and will get the best out of his team.”
Tisdale said it would not be easy for fourth-placed City to end their mini-blip that has seen them pick up one point out of nine and lose their last two home matches.
“Mansfield have got some good players and have not been too bad at home,” he added.
“Their results have not been strong but they have a manager who drives his team and maximises their potential - and has done with every team he has had.”
Tisdale, the second longest-serving manager in the league behind Arsene Wenger, said he would not be paying attention to his side’s recent good form over the Stags, which has seen them win on their last three trips to Mansfield.
He also said his own side’s recent record of scoring just two goals in four matches was not concerning.
“It happens — the ball doesn’t go in the net sometimes,” he said.
“We are doing the right things and practising the right things. It will go in the net sooner or later I am sure.
“It is not about how many you score but scoring one more than the opposition — and that is our target on Saturday.
“All games are very important. We need points, we need results and this is just the next game that we need to win.