Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray was upset with certain sections of the media following the Stags’ hard-fought away point at Portsmouth on Saturday – and rightly so.
It is about time people outside of Mansfield began to give the Stags and Murray in particular the credit which their current performances are warranting.
Murray oversaw a squad overhaul in the summer with 14 players departing the One Call Stadium to make way for his 13 new additions.
The timescale in which Murray has transformed the team’s fortunes is nothing short of admirable, and should give an indication as to just how hard the Stags boss and his team are working behind the scenes.
The Stags have been beaten just three times during their 15 league games and for the team who lost 24 games last season that is pretty remarkable. It would take for something to go drastically wrong for them to lose that amount of games during this campaign now.
The amount of goals the Stags are scoring is also something that has clearly been identified as a weakness from last season. The Yellows netted just 38 goals throughout the entire 2014/15 campaign and they have already scored 22 this time around.
The team appears to have a new found resilience under Murray’s management and whilst his personality would dictate that he wouldn’t accept the credit, he should claim a large portion of it.
For it is he who has clearly instilled the sort of belief in his players that would give them the confidence to overturn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 win, which the Stags did at the start of October during a trip to Dagenham and Redbridge.
Having the belief that you are never beaten until the last whistle is blown is something that can only come from the manager. Nobody else at the football club can drill that into the players, it is purely the role of the person in charge of picking the team.
The 34-year-old should also take a great deal of credit for the calibre of player he has attracted during his summer recruitment drive.
The likes of Brian Jensen and Nicky Hunt boast Premier League experience in abundance, whilst Matt Green, Scott Shearer, Craig Westcarr and Krystian Pearce all bring Championship or League One experience to the table.
All of the aforementioned must have seen something in Murray and in Mansfield Town as a football club that is going places and a project that they wanted to be a part of.
The moral of the story is that any team can start well and race out of the blocks in the first two or three games but it takes a team made of sterner stuff to mainstay their position at the business end of the season.
We are now a third of the way through the campaign and Mansfield Town sit proudly in fifth position in the League Two table and what is to say they won’t stay there? You certainly wouldn’t back against them on current form would you?
The Stags should have been praised for a tremendous 0-0 draw at Portsmouth, where they dominated possession against a side that has been put together using a much larger budget than what Mansfield have to play with, and if that isn’t an indication that Mansfield can compete with the very best in this league, then quite frankly I don’t know what is.
Meanwhile Murray, who is earning a reputation as one of the best young managers in the Football League, is simply wanting a bit more respect for his players who he sees work their socks off every single day, admirable again don’t you think?