Mansfield Town boss demands more goals and a ruthless attitude
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft is demanding more goals and a more ruthless attitude to killing off opponents when ahead.
That follows two more dropped points due to a late equaliser in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Cambridge ahead of two crucial home games in four days, starting with Saturday’s visit of relegated Northampton Town before Oldham Athletic provide the opposition on Tuesday.
Stags are still unbeaten away from home and have only conceded seven goals in their eight games, but now sit 16th in League Two.
“We have got a lot right attacking-wise this season,” said Flitcroft.
“But the issue is the mental approach - that accountability and that responsibility to think this is my opportunity to go and hurt these opponents.
“We have been good on our home patch this season. But when we do go a goal in front then we need to go and get that second.
“We are just failing on that last bit and when we get that right we will be a real force.
“At home we have dismantled teams, we have disjointed them and we have dominated them for large periods.”
He added: “We have only conceded seven goals this season – that’s up there with the best records in the league.
“But the goals tally isn’t where I want it to be for the amount of good quality entrances we’ve made into the last third. It’s poor and we have got to make it better - that’s what we will driving this squad to do this weekend.
“As we’ve changed the style of play we have almost been looking for that perfect goal. But a perfect goal is one that goes in or wins the game. Any match-winning goal is a perfect goal for me.”
Flitcroft said much of it was down to poor decision-making.
“Have we turned down shots? Yes we possibly have. We have certainly turned down crossing opportunities and passing opportunities in that last third and maybe been a bit too intricate.
“We remain dominant in our play but need better decisions, better executions and an almost no fear approach to taking that shot or cross on,” he said.
“It’s about bravery and character in those key moments as we have only scored 10 goals and it’s not enough with the quality of players we’ve got. In a promotion campaign, we should have between 15 and 20.
“It’s a mentality shift from at times being happy with 1-0 and holding onto it and to then absolutely going to get the next one.
“You have to play with that risk and determination to go and see a team, off. We have not been ruthless enough this season.
“When we’ve gone ahead here the decibels have always gone up and the stadium has been phenomenal.
“Now it’s a case of us not just seeing it through, but stepping on the gas at that point.”
Despite having a game in hand and only losing once, Flitcroft said his side’s current position in the table was where they deserved to be.
“A promotion campaign is built off a solid foundation and consistency,” he admitted.
“It doesn’t matter what football you’re playing to the outside world. It matter where you stand in the table.
“We are in control of that with how we play.
“We are in 16th place because we’ve not done enough going forward to really hurt teams.”
He continued: “Our football has to be a winning brand and one that puts the fear of God into teams when they come to the One Call. They need to know they will be in for one hell of a game.
“We have got that game in hand, which lost us a bit of traction, but we are where we are.
“I want to see us top of the table. Do I believe we can get there? A million per cent.
“If we go all season unbeaten away from home but back that up with positive at home it will be a successful season, the two things go hand in hand. We need to find that consistency.”