Adam Murray said his Mansfield Town side couldn’t wait for Saturday and were desperate to take on Oxford United today to put right last night’s 1-0 setback at Accrington Stanley.
A poor game was decided by a deflected first half goal and then coach didn’t get back to One Call Stadium until 2.30am due to road closures to crown a bad night at the office.
“It was a bad journey back – I think every road into Mansfield was blocked, so it took a little bit longer,” he said. “But it was a good time for reflection and I still feel it was a missed opportunity last night.
“After the game I was a little bit angry – not at the players’ performance overall but the fact that it was a missed opportunity.
“I think we are a group and a team that is strong and we go into those games expecting to win. We didn’t go there expecting to see it out and put points on the board. We expected to win it.
“The frustrating thing is for the first 30 minutes we didn’t really let them out of their half. If you listen to their manager’s comments after the game he was ready to make subs after 25 minutes.
“We carried out the game plan down to a tee again without really creating anything exceptional. We had a lot of territorial advantage where you have to create things, especially away from home, you’ve got to work the keeper more and we didn’t do that in the first half an hour.
“If we score in that period it could have been three or four last night as we did start on the front foot. Then they go down the other end totally against the run of play and score which was a kick in the teeth.”
He added: “The last 10 minutes of the first half I thought we continued to play on the semi-front foot, again without really creating anything, and then we came out second half, changed the shape, put three centre forwards on and the game became a little bit scrappy and bitty.
“They had chances then as we were having to to go for it, but we didn’t have that little bit of quality in the final third last night. We went from back to front too quickly second half.
“I came out of it in a frustrated frame of mind as it wasn’t as if we’d gone there and been outplayed or deserved to lose. We’d missed an opportunity to put three points on the board.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s a good frustration as we’ve put a group together that go into games expecting to win. I was saying to the staff this morning that we lost football games last year and you’d come out of them thinking I don’t know how we are going to score this season. Now I am looking at it and thinking we can win lots of games this season and it’s a positive feeling.
“I do believe with the new group, these little knocks on the chin you take, the teething problems, you have to go through it.
“It was bitty and I think the referee blew his whistle about every 10 seconds, we couldn’t get any rhythm or flow to the game. But those are the games you grind out at least a 0-0 draw and put something on the board. It’s a big learning curve for the group.
“This morning we’ve woken up in a positive mood and we want to play Oxford today. The lads are a great bunch of players and a great bunch of people and they want to put things right straight away. So we can’t wait for Saturday now.”