LESTER: '˜They underestimated us and we looked after the badge - we were the better team'
Jack Lester was pleased with the way his side '˜looked after' the Chesterfield FC badge in today's derby draw at Mansfield Town.
The Spireites were unlucky not to come away with three points having led 2-1 and totally dominated the second half, before a late Stags leveller.
That goal obviously disappointed the manager and his players but he was purring over the performance as Chesterfield made it five games unbeaten in League Two.
And he felt the home side underestimated his squad.
He said: I think the performance was excellent, the way we moved the ball in the second half was brilliant and we opened them up time and time again. They couldn’t get near us, could they?
“The goal is the disappointing thing but knowing the importance of the game, coming into the lion’s den, away from home, where they are in the league and expecting to turn up and beat us - I think there was maybe a bit of complacency from them, underestimating the talent we’ve got.
“In the second half we completely outplayed them.
“First half we matched them without being the better team but the goal was scored was right out of the top drawer, there was movement and intricacy, people breaking lines, it was fantastic.
“Second half it was fantastic, we moved the ball from one area and as they tried to get bodies across moved to another area, we got in down the sides and behind.
“The goal we scored was excellent and had it not been for that goal at the end it would have been the perfect afternoon.
“Coming here and looking after the badge, it’s a big rivalry, I think we looked after it really well today.
“I think we were the better team.”
Lester said in the second half his men coped particularly well with the direct style employed by Steve Evans’ in-form Mansfield side, who are now 10 unbeaten in all competitions.
“We were just sharper to the seconds and won the first contact a little more.
“We knew the style of play, they kick it as high and far as they can and then try and get the seconds.
“We didn’t deal with that as well first half, but the second half we were onto the bits and then we played, passed it, we were bright.
“I think they expected us to be a little bit of a touch but we’re not.
“The fitness levels, the intensity levels and the quality is rising all the time.”
The rookie manager enjoyed the needle the fixture carried, both on and off the pitch and maintained his record of having never lost an encounter with the Stags.
“I did (enjoy it), it’s why you’re in it, for these type of games.
“Looking forward we want to be in these types of games which are edgy because you’re pushing for promotion, pushing for titles.
“It was great, their fans were as they would be, as our fans will be when they come back to our place, putting a lot of pressure on those in and around the technical areas.
“There was a lot of stick flying in, it’s great isn’t it because they’ve got to come to our place.”
When asked what was said between him and an animated Evans in a first half touchline discussion, Lester quipped: “I just said you’re a nice man and he said ‘you’re great.’”
Evans appealed for a number of decisions in his trademark charismatic style, especially in the first half when the referee turned down a number of home shouts for a penalty.
That didn’t come as a surprise to Lester.
“We spoke about them diving, they were throwing themselves to the floor and putting pressure on the referee but we had prepared for that.
“We watched a few videos and seen how often they throw themselves to the floor so we were ready for it.”
Looking ahead, Town move on to a Checkatrade Trophy fixture with Manchester City U21s in midweek before the visit of fellow relegation zone dwellers Barnet to the Proact next Saturday.
Chesterfield are already raring to go.
“We’ve clawed so many teams back in around us and after Man City we’ve got a nice, tough game against Barnet and we’ll be ready for that,” said Lester.
“We can’t wait for the next game.
“Physically we are getting there. We’re probably another six weeks away but fit enough to play the style we want.
“I’m excited where they’ll get to when they get to the levels we’ve got planned for them.”