Players’ determination changes Mansfield manager’s mind

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Exeter City v Mansfield Town; 17/2/18  KO 15.00; St James Park; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Mansfield boss Steve Evans was the happier manager after victory at Exeter
Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Exeter City v Mansfield Town; 17/2/18 KO 15.00; St James Park; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Mansfield boss Steve Evans was the happier manager after victory at Exeter

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans said sheer determination by the players who saw off Newport not to lose their shirt put paid to his plans to freshen up the side at Exeter City on Saturday.

Evans eventually went with an unchanged side and they rewarded that decision with a priceless 1-0 win over their rivals.

Evans said his midweek comments about making changes were not kidology and the fact he did not make those expected changes were simply down to the players with the shirts making it impossible for him to drop them.

He explained: “It was all about the training ground. Sometimes there has to be a reason why you put players in – and there were three or four jumping at us to go in.

“But, by the same token, as a staff you have to look at why players should come out. And there was no reason why they should come out when I looked at them.

“They were bright, they were bubbly. I was probably looking for something that wasn’t there.

“Were they going to be a little bit tired after their exploits against Newport? But they bounced in here on Thursday and Friday and almost with that bit of positive arrogance that said ‘I feel fresh, don’t think about taking me out’.

“Paul and I had a really good debate about it and in the end we both said we’d keep the same team and same subs and it produced a great result.”