Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray said his players had lacked spark and spirit in today’s disappointing 2-0 home defeat by Luton Town.
Although Stags dominated possession, they rarely threatened keeper Elliot Justham and conceded early goals in both halves.
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It was the fifth time in six home games that Mansfield had conceded early and Murray said: “It’s the same old story again. You can’t coach it and people have got to take responsibility. It’s becoming a farce now the times we concede goals and the type of goal we’re conceding. It’s just a regular occurance – same mistakes, same errors.
“We are not blessed with 30 players where we can try someone else out. We have got to keep going.
“The bottom line is they were better than us in vital areas.
“They were two really sloppy goals and there was not enough spark about us to win a football match.
“Overall they were better than us.
“We were not good enough in both boxes today. At times first half we had some good play and some good possession but didn’t do enough with it.
“Then in the defensive third we kill ourselves.”
He added: “With the ball first half we were very good without creating enough opportunities as we couldn’t get behind them. We lacked a bit of idea in the final third. But in possession we dictated play without causing them problems. They only looked like they were going to score on the break.
“Second half we went more direct but gave away a poor goal.”
Murray had a long angry discussion with the players in the dressing room after the match and said: “The thing that got me today was we looked like we lacked balls.
“At times we looked like a team that doesn’t know what to do with the possession and that’s where you look to your X-Factor players, your spark players, to do something.
“We are lacking a bit of fire in there at the minute. Things are not going our way. But we have to keep grafting.
“Today showed the gulf in quality in players.
“Now we need to see that the players care. We had a brilliant first quarter to the season but what I don’t get is that bit of fire we lack – they are fighting for their lives.
“They are fighting for their careers, they are fighting for jobs – I don’t get it.
“I said to them afterwards I never put myself in a situation where it was questionable if I was going to fight for my job, as I did the basics rights.
“If you are not having a good game, you do the basics and run through brick walls. There are questions being answered here. This first season was always going to be a case of finding people out and finding what does or doesn’t work.”
Murray concluded: “Luton’s league position at the minute is probably a bit false and they are a million miles away from who we are. We need to understand that and take that one on the chin.
“What we are trying to achieve is not an overnight thing. It’s going to take bumps. It’s going to take punches on the chin. We are not very good with that as a football club – being patient.
“One of the basics we’ve seen from the team all season, even when we haven’t particularly performed well, is a spirit and a pair of knackers – today we didn’t see that.”