Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray slammed the new-look Checkatrade EFL Trophy format as his side lost two players to injury in tonight’s 2-0 home opening group game defeat by Doncaster Rovers.
The competition has been a straight knockout competition for some time, but has reverted back to group games in the first round which allows Premier League academy sides to take part and means clubs more pack more games into their schedule.
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With Jamie McGuire and Kyle Howkins limping down the tunnel, Murray said at the end: “I am glad it’s over. To put it politely it’s a pain in the backside.
“It was frustrating to pick up a couple of injuries in a game that I don’t get the ending to the whole thing.
“It’s all right for these big clubs coming in, but what people forget to think about is that it’s people’s jobs on the line when earning three points is your living.
“It’s not just turn up and have a game for an U23 team, this is people’s lives and we’ve got to go into the weekend now with knocks and bruises.”
He added: “I will be honest with you, when we got to 75 minutes, I was telling people to stay out of tackles and save their legs as, when you have got a small squad, you can’t risk anything.”
Rovers were guilty of two or three thundering tackles, earning two bookings, but Murray said: “I don’t mind that, that’s the game. That’s the nature of the beast. It’s a frustrating evening.
“Our performance at times was really good without having any end product to it.
“And we gave away two sloppy goals, but like I say I pulled the reins on the lads a little bit as we’ve taken two bangs to our team which will affect us. So we had to limit the damage.
“I thought some of them played really well. There were some good performances in there.
“But some of them need to realise this is not a comfort zone. It’s not just a 10-month jolly-up with the boys. You are at 110 per cent in this building or you’re not here very long.
“But I was chuffed to bits with some of the peformances and I thought the work rate was really good.
“We obviously changed shape first half and got to work on it for an hour yesterday. So we expected hiccups.
“But, overall we got people minutes that we wanted to get minutes.
“I’d like to say we’ve come out of it without bruises, but we haven’t and the focus was always on Saturday.”