Steve Evans is happy to play the waiting game as League Two takes shape this season.
With eight games gone Stags sit fifth, nine points adrift of leaders Exeter.
Evans said: “You would rather be where Exeter are and have the points, but I think it all balances out when you get halfway through the season and everyone has played each other.
“At the minutes we can all look at teams and wonder if they have played the strongest teams in the league? Possibly not.
“I did say in the summer – and one or two people ridiculed me – that Exeter’s recruitment was special.
“What I meant was they’d kept that squad of players, all bar one or two they sold for big money, and it was a squad that, if they’d started the season properly, would have been automatically promoted to League One.
“I have been impressed with the work down there.
“But I’ve been impressed with a lot of the sides. This is a league that people have invested in.”
He added: “We were down at Lincoln last week and, despite what people want to say, they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on players.
“We look at Luton, we look at the recruitment Mark Robins has done at Coventry – it is probably the best League Two in a little while.”
However, Evans is more than happy with his own squad.
“They are a fantastic group of players,” he smiled. “They are young men that if they came back with your daughter, most of them you’d welcome and give them a cup of tea.
“They are good lads – though one or two you’d hunt round the corner for sure!
“There is a good atmosphere in the dressing room and the senior players, like I requested, keep it on an even keel as there will be good days and bad days.
“We have to stay positive all the time and have a plan that we are working to.
“We are still frustrated by our start to the season. We won at Lincoln – but I’d expect to win at Lincoln. I think those frustrations will be there until January.”