Lessons learned for Murray and staff

Mansfield Town Manager Adam Murray.'Picture by Dan Westwell
Mansfield Town Manager Adam Murray.'Picture by Dan Westwell

As he heads into his second full season in football management, Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray believes he and his staff have learned much from last season.

The players return for pre-season training on Monday and Murray said of the summer: “It’s been a little bit less chaotic as we’ve not had as much work to do in terms of our signings.

“We’ve been very specific. We knew what we wanted before the season finished. So we’ve tried to focus on that and get that done. “We were really happy with pre-season last year. We were very fit, very organised, so we’ve made minor tweaks to the schedule, but nothing major.”

Murray also said there would be fewer surprises what the season would throw at him in the hot seat.

“For me personally I know the league as a manager a little bit better than I did,” he said.

“You can know it inside out as a player but it doesn’t prepare you for what’s laying on the other side and the dark, scary alleyways of League Two management.

“I feel I have a lot more knowledge of the league and what certain games take to get results.

“I think last year we picked up some good results but at times we could have been a little bit more consistent and that starts with me.

“A lot was learned last year when we reviewed the season back after it ended with the staff.

“There were little things in there we picked up that you sometimes don’t see in season because your mind is fully focussed on winning that game and moving on to the next one.

“The review process was really good. We’ve picked up little bits and bobs we can use moving forward.”

Stags have three big home friendlies planned against Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Hull City, along with a string of games with local sides.

“We have a good mixture of friendlies again this year and I am really happy with the fixtures and tests we have,” he said.

“The home ones are against the better teams. We don’t go into them thinking we’re going to play these teams off the park. “Against these teams you don’t really have a lot of the ball which is good for your tactical work and for your shape work for when you come up against the better teams in our league. It really does test you.

“The ones we have locally will test us in different ways.

“They will all bring us different challenges and we’ll be able to work on tactics, fitness and, more importantly, this season we want to put more of a focus on us in possession.

“Even though we were very good in possession at times last year, we want the focus to be more on us this season.

“We’ve got some very good players and we want to take the game to teams this season.

“We finished the back end of the season very strongly, especially at home, Everyone went on about how bad our home form was but when you actually look at the facts of it, there wasn’t much difference in our home form and our away form.

“We want to up our home form next season and keep our away form. If we do that we’ll be in with a chance.”