Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray today paid tribute to the club’s supporters for their backing and reception at the final whistle of Saturday’s home 0-0 draw with high-flying Plymouth Argyle.
“It was incredible,” he said. “This season they’ve been superb and I was proud of them on Saturday.
“It was one of those games where it was tight, it could have gone either way. But they stuck with us and at the end they showed their appreciation, and that meant a lot to me and the boys.
“They can see how far we’ve come and the direction we are moving in and I think a big thank you needs to go to them for Saturday.
“Sometimes I ask them to be better like they do of me. I’ve said it all along, for 12 years this club has been a massive part of my life.
“I have always asked them to be better as a player and now as a manager and they have always asked me to be better. That will never change whether I am here for another week or five years. That’s the way we get the best out of each other.
“On Saturday they deserved a massive pat on the back as they were awesome. We are trying to repay them in our performances and hopefully we will have a good season.”
Reflecting on the battling 0-0 draw, he said: “It was a good marker to show how we’ve come. I think the pleasing thing for me Saturday was that the fans appreciated how far we have travelled in the 12 weeks we’ve had these lads together.
“It was two good teams going at each other. They had chances first half, we had chances second half, and both teams defended well when they had to.
“I enjoyed the game to watch and I think if we’d been a little more ruthless we could have come away with a win.”
Murray’s side was very youthful against Plymouth and he said: “It is a bit scary at times.
“You’ve got Mal Benning, who is 21, Nathan Thomas is 20, you’ve obviously got Jack Thomas and Mitch Rose, we forget that Pearce and Taff are only 25. It’s a really young team and at times it showed its naivety, which we knew and were prepared for.
“But there is a willingness to learn and to work, and the big thing for me is the pride they all have in the shirt. They’ve shown that every game.
“There’s not one person I could look at and say you need to give more. They are all giving their heart and soul at the minute and the fans are appreciating that.
“It was a good feeling on Saturday. We didn’t win, though we wanted to.
“We were in yesterday and we spoke about belief. It is a case we are still playing with our reins on a little bit which it’s to be expected as we are still finding our feet.
“With a lot of young kids in the team, they don’t want to fail and sometimes you’ve got to take that fear of failure away from them.
“We are saying we don’t mind mistakes as long as you are trying to do the right thing. They know I will always push them, and I probably over-demand at times, but are aiming for perfection here and however long that takes, we will continue on that kind of road.
“Our next step is getting that belief in the team. The lads understand how good they can be and take it from there.
“The lads came into the dressing room on Saturday and it was like we’d lost. For me it is a plus point. We obviously want to keep the confidence in there.”
Murray added: “But they are pushing themselves just as much as I am pushing them.
“We are ninth and one point off the play-offs and of the 72 Football League teams there are only two that have got a better goals against them than us, so defensively we are looking solid.
“So we have now got to start putting it in at the other end and start winning football matches on a consistent basis, which I am confident we will do.
“The big thing now is to make sure we don’t get complacent and we put the foot down and keep working as hard as the lads are.
“The football club is in a great place and from where we have come from last season in 12 weeks, it’s a massive well done to our football club, to the fans, the players for all the week we are putting in. And, as I’ve said, this is just the start of the journey.
“I don’t want to quicken time up as I am enjoying the journey but I want everything now as I understand where this team is going to be. So it’s very positive.”
Murray said he wasn’t worried his side had failed to score for two games.
He said: “We have scored in and around the amount of goals the teams have scored in the play-offs, so it’s not as if we are not scoring goals. If we weren’t creating chances I’d say it was an issue.
“I am not worried. My building process from last year was I went into every game thinking how many we were going to concede.
“This year my whole recruitment plan and whole coaching plan has been making us hard to be beat. I am not going to go away from that.
“I want us to be solid and structured because the other end of the pitch will come. We’ve got players in this squad that can make things happen out of nothing and they’ve shown that.
“So when we move the focus on to them - and I have spoken to them individually and as a group as they are frustrated - when I believe the team is ready to move onto the next step, then the goals will come.”