Jordan Smith says a positive response to last week's defeat at Notts County will be crucial as Mansfield Town aim to get their promotion bid back on track.
Smith was beaten by a wonder strike from Craig Mackail-Smith to give bottom-of-the-table Notts a 1-0 win, with Forest Green Rovers being Stags' next opponents this weekend as they come to the One Call Stadium also with promotion on their minds.
And, as he reflected on the display, the Nottingham Forest loanee is desperate to see Mansfield make amends.
He said: “It’s a difficult one to put our finger on. Nobody was more disappointed than ourselves with it being such a big game, probably the biggest of the season for numerous reasons, so to turn out the performance that we did was miles off what we know we can do.
“It’s something we have to look back on and use it as fuel to make sure it doesn’t happen again for the rest of the season as it was very uncharacteristic.
“It was a bit of a wonder strike but it doesn’t really numb the pain for me as it’s disappointing to get beaten in any way from any angle and it ended up being the goal that sealed our fate.
“We were utterly wounded, it was unbelievable and very sombre in the dressing room afterwards. We were sat there for a long time and it was a while before anyone spoke. It was a horrible mood and we don’t want that feeling ever again.
“The fans were fantastic and virtually sold out that entire side of the ground, so to have to go over afterwards and applaud them while at the same time apologising for the performance was very, very difficult and it really did take some getting over this week.
“There’s always another game and while we might have wanted a Tuesday game this week to try and get over the Notts game, the game here on Saturday becomes a bigger game and where we know we can put it right. We have to channel those frustrations.
“We’ve looked at the game and hopefully identified what went wrong and where we know we need to do better and the management team will be looking to make sure we do what we’ve spoken about and get a performance and result.”
Smith says he's been happy with his form since arriving from the City Ground last months, but is aware he can't get complacent if he's to maintain his place in the team.
He said: "I’m massively enjoying being here. There’s nothing better than playing football matches and doing so here is massive and I want to pay that back with my performances both individually and as a team.
“I think I’ve done really well. Frustratingly, my best two performances have come in the last two games where we’ve lost 1-0, but I know what I have to and I am always looking for the extra one per cent, five per cent, ten percent – whatever I can do to contribute to the team and get us to where we want to be.
“The team suits my style. We are a good footballing team and we’ve showed that when we move the ball at speed there aren’t many that can cope with us, so it’s important that we do more of it and ultimately that starts with me in being the first wave of attack.
“It’s a weapon of mine, especially with my throw which I look to use and that the manager has encouraged as we have the attacking flair and pace to let the boys go free if I can set a move off as soon as I collect a shot or cross.
“If there is a way I can contribute then it’s all part of being a modern day goalkeeper.”
Looking ahead to Forest Green, Smith sayss familiarity will play a part with the teams having met just a few weeks ago at the New Lawn.
“We played them fairly recently so it’s one where both teams will think they know each other a bit better," he said.
"We know what they’re about and what they do and they are a very good side. We played out a good game plan there but their pressure in the final few minutes told and they got an equaliser and put more pressure on us at the end.
“We know if we do what we can do well, especially in front of the home support then that will be what drives us on and will get us the three points, I feel. Our home form speaks for itself and with the crowd behind us we feel we can achieve anything.
“I think we’ve got to know where it is we want to go and as the weeks go by we know more and more what it takes to get there. So we have to come together as a squad and manage games a bit better in terms of not being figured out, and if we are figured out then making sure we do it ourselves on the pitch and showing the ultimate respect to the manager because he sets us up brilliantly and gives us the freedom to go and do it.”