Although disappointed by today’s 3-0 defeat at his former club Oxford United, Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray admitted the exertions of his injury-hit squad over a busy February so far really caught up with them this afternoon.
Stags were well beaten and created little, but Murray was not about to jump on them, knowing there were players out there carrying injuries and tired legs.
Now, with no midweek game, he is hoping they can recharge their batteries ahead of Saturday’s visit of Dagenham & Redbridge.
To read a match report click HERE
After the game today, Murray said: “We were beaten by the better side on the day. No excuses – from the first minute we looked like a team on our last legs.
“We looked tired and didn’t get going. We didn’t have enough bravery on the ball. Every time we had possession we gave it away and we didn’t dictate play at all.
“I always had this game down as the toughest test in this period. It is what it is and we move on to the next one and go again next week.
“I understand totally why we lost like that. I know where we are as a team and as a football club at the minute.
“I expected a lot more. But we gave away two poor goals and a penalty.
“But let’s not lose sight of the fact these boys have given 200 per cent in the last couple of games and run through brick walls. They couldn’t do that today.
“It’s not excuses. I am just up front with the truth. In the last three days we have had lads in the treatment room and I have had to just roll them out again this morning. So we were always going to be up against it. We just have to get our chins up and go again.”
He added: “A lot of it is down to fatigue. It’s not an excuse, it’s a valid reason.
“We have had two really tough weeks and all the efforts the boys have put in in the last few games were there for everybody to see. You have seen the result of that today.
“We haven’t the biggest of squads to be able to freshen it up to play at the tempo we want to play at.”
Murray was happy with the debut of loanee Brighton winger Jeffrey Monakana, but service to him was poor all afternoon.
“He did okay and showed glimpses of what he is about,” said Murray. “But we didn’t give him enough ball. Today was one of the worst I’ve seen with us in possession. But I am sure Jeffrey will be productive for the team.
“Hopefully over the next week we can recoup and get some energy back. I hope we will get a couple of bodies back from injury and the boys can refocus and go again.
“I am sure no one expected us to make the play-offs after we beat Luton. I didn’t get carried away by the highs of Tuesday and I won’t get too down over the lows of today.
“We are awful away. If I knew why then we wouldn’t be awful away. This team is where it is because of days like today. It is going to take a lot of work but it will come.
“We need to work harder and we need to be better organised and show better discipline away from home.
“We were erratic in some of our decision-making. The pitch surface was poor yet we kept testing Lenny Pidgeley out with backpasses for 90 minutes.
“I have already drawn the line under this one.”