High praise for Mansfield Town fightback from Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder
Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder said Mansfield Town's fightback in this afternoon's FA Cup thriller came as no surprise to him.
And he had nothing but the highest praise for the Stags as Boro sneaked through with a stoppage time John-Joe O'Toole own goal after Mansfield had fought back from 2-0 down in 14 minutes to level.
“You've got to love the FA Cup though I didn't love it when it went to two each,” he smiled.
“I liked it in the first 20-25 minutes as I thought we got right out the blocks.
“But I have to give an enormous amount of credit to Mansfield Town – the manager, the players and the supporters.
“It's a difficult one for them when they go 2-0 down but their team rallied and I knew, without sounding clever, this was going to be a really difficult afternoon for us. So it proved to be.
“But, after the week we've had and the issues we've had, we'd find ourselves in round four on Monday we would have taken that.
“The result is the main thing and we've come through a really tough tie that epitomised what the FA Cup is all about.”
Wilder said Stags were a match for any Championship club on the day.
“Even if we were at our strongest, this would have been a difficult afternoon,” he said.
“Any Championship team would have struggled today. We are a Championship team and we had a fight and struggle to get through.
“We were up against a manager who has got history with cup upsets, a team on a fabulous run, a vocal home support, and a team that has nothing to lose against a team that has everything to lose.
“I wasn't surprised they got back into it and they had some chances before that. We rode our luck through that period and we didn't defend the two goals very well.
“We can play better but we had players out there who hadn't played much and it was an incredible experience for the young boys.”
He continued: “It was a huge test for us as a football club and we have come through it with a mix and match team.
“I can't take anything away from Mansfield today. They gave everything today for the manager and the supporters.
“They had won 10 of their last 11 games and Nigel who has done it. I knew he would fancy it and he has history and form in these type of games.
“I think people up and down the country would have tipped this game as a potential result for Mansfield.”