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We’re not there yet – Nigel Clough warns Mansfield still have work to do

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Apr 2024

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Nigel Clough says the champagne must stay on ice despite an emphatic 4-1 win for his promotion-hunting Mansfield side over MK Dons.

The Stags are now five points clear of fourth-placed Dons having played a game fewer, meaning they can clinch a place in League One next season with a win over Accrington on Tuesday.

Two goals from Davis Keillor-Dunn either side of strikes from Elliott Hewitt and James Gale saw Town earn a potentially decisive comeback victory at Stadium MK after falling behind to Max Dean’s opener.

“We’re just nearly there but not there yet,” said Clough. “The emotions are understandable at the end but we’re not there yet.

“We came set up in a certain way to sort of stop their four in midfield, then a mistake was made by Jordan (Bowery) and it changes the whole game. We were OK at 0-0 just waiting to see how the game played out a little bit, but then all of a sudden we had to change and we were probably better for it. We went a bit more like our old selves.

“I thought once we got in at half-time at 1-1, it felt a bit like the Notts County game away from home where we’ve conceded a goal, maybe a daft soft goal, but come on, it’s 1-1, let’s go on and win it.

“We got the goal within a few minutes although it took us five or six efforts I think again to get it over the line.

“Then it’s a case of sitting in, breaking and restricting MK Dons as I think they are the best footballing side in the league.

“We’re not great believers in keeping the ball, we want to get further ahead and get third or fourth goals, and we did it again today.”

Barring an unlikely Mansfield collapse, Dons are a certainty for the play-offs after struggling for consistency in recent weeks, although they did take an early lead here through the in-form Dean.

Boss Mike Williamson has called a quick response from his side.

He said: “The course of that game summed up our season a little bit. I thought we started really well and we had a lot of control, but overall, I don’t think we did enough to win the game.

“It’s a humbling and it’s a tough one to take, but Mansfield deserve a lot of credit for that performance and what they’ve done over the course of the season.

“We know our reaction to defeats in the next game has been good and really positive but we’ve got to make it our habit no matter the momentum, opposition or stakes.”

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