United boss Paul Simpson spoke after Tuesday’s game about the hit that confidence can take from a first half performance that left the visitors four goals to the good, but he also insisted that the important thing is to make sure that you bounce back as quickly as possible.
“It does knock you, there’s no doubt about that,” he told us. “When you get spanked 4-0 at home, and it’s 4-0 at half time, it definitely does knock you. We have to react, that’s all you can do.
“The fortunate thing, and in League Two especially, is that a game comes round again really quickly. We don’t have a lot of time to get screwed up about it, we have to deal with it and react.
“Every game is going to be tough from now to the end of the season, we’ve got 15 games to go, and we’ve earned the right to be sat in third place so far.
“We have to address what we have and haven’t done against Mansfield and get it right next time. We were better in the second half, but that’s sometimes expected when it’s gone the way it went.
“That’s why I’m not praising the second half and being critical of the first half, but at least we kept going and we kept our discipline. It was really important that we didn’t lose our heads because it would have been a massive blow if we’d had somebody red carded.
“That would have had us missing somebody for a suspension, and we can’t afford that. We've got to learn and improve and make sure we get back to doing the things that have got us to where we are.”
Part of that will be the rediscovery of the scoring streak that made the club the division’s top scorers.
“I thought we created some half chances, we had set plays going in where we didn’t get across the keeper and cause problems, and we had things bobbling around that we didn’t capitalise on,” he commented.
“I can’t say we really cut Mansfield open as much as they did to us, and we just didn’t deal with their threats. We knew it was going to be a tough game, we knew what they were about, because they’re one of the top crossing teams in the league.
“We talked about stopping crosses and sadly on the night we didn’t do enough to cut out that threat. This is where we just need to regroup and we’ve got to stick together.
“That’s what I said to the players after the game because it’s really important that we react. Sometimes when you get a bad result you get little pockets working off each other, and little cliques start to form, and people are disappointed because they’ve been subbed or not started.
“We can’t afford that, we’ve got into this position because as a group everybody has stuck together, and that has served us well. The staff won’t be sniping – I can only say they won’t be sniping in front of me – it’s a case of all sticking together, like the supporters stuck with us in the second half, and we’ve got to get ready to go again on Saturday.”
“You get these tough situations in football and you get them in life, and you’ve just got to be prepared to go again and work as hard as we have been doing,” he insisted.
“We need to make sure we compete better, there were too many times om the night where I felt that we lost our one v one duals where we were maybe favourites to win the ball.
“We’ve earned the right to be third because we’ve competed properly and been hard to beat. We went away from that, particularly for the first 45 minutes.
“But it's not a panic. No need for panic. We'll deal with it the same way. We have a way that we deal with every game, good or bad. Tuesday was a really bad one and we'll just deal with it the same.”
And it’s through the dips and troughs that it becomes imperative that everyone sticks together.
“We've all got to stick together and the staff will support the players, or hopefully the players will support each other, and hopefully the supporters will come and keep supporting because the fans have been absolutely fantastic,” he told us.
“And I'll say it again, second half, I thought they were excellent the way they stuck with us because it would have been really, really easy to turn and to be critical.
“I know there was a lot of moaning about the referee, but the referee wasn't the reason we lost the game. We lost it because of our 45 minutes in the first half and there's no excuses.
“We got turned over. They opened us up with crosses, going in with winning second balls because they competed better. And that's the top and bottom of it. And we've only got ourselves to blame.
“What we need to see now is that the players have belief in themselves. I’ve told them that they haven’t become a bad side. We haven't become a side who can't score goals.
“We've earned the right to get goals. And that's not by luck when you get as many as we have, so we just have to keep doing it. On Saturday, we created some decent chances, but we didn't get the finish.
“On Tuesday I can't say they were great chances, probably Mellish's chance just before half time where he took it onto his right foot. If he stayed on his left, he's probably got a better chance of finishing.
“We had half chances second half, but it just didn't drop for us. Whereas maybe other weeks things have dropped for us when we've had a little stroke of luck, and the last three games it hasn't.
“And I am one of those who believes that if you keep doing the right things, it will turn for us, so we’ve just got to keep doing the right things.”