Richard Cooper delighted to end Mansfield caretaker spell with victory
Richard Cooper is delighted to be handing over the reins to new Mansfield boss Nigel Clough with the club’s first win of the season on the board.
Clough watched Mansfield’s FA Cup victory over Sunderland from the main stand at the Stadium of Light, having been appointed as Stags boss on Friday.
Cooper ran things from the technical area as caretaker manager and watched George Lapslie head home Kellan Gordon’s cross to secure the 1-0 win that ended Mansfield’s wait for a first win of the season.
The Sky Bet League Two side had gone 14 games without a victory in all competitions prior to triumphing on Wearside, and while his caretaker spell might have been a brief one, Cooper is delighted to have signed off on a winning note.
Cooper said: “We’re delighted to get the win, I’m pleased as anything for those players in that dressing room. For what they’ve given over the last seven days, they’re an absolute credit.
“We had togetherness and commitment. We stuck together at the tough times. It’s a changing room that’s really happy at the minute.
“We thought we played some good stuff. It was a great header for the goal, when it hit the back of the net it was a great feeling.
“The gaffer has been great. He popped in on Friday and gave us some messages, and gave us lots of encouragement before the game. He came in the dressing room at half-time, and I’m sure I could hear him shouting encouragement during the game too.
“He’s been brilliant, and it was nice to hand over the team to him with a win. His presence was great. Having the gaffer in and around it meant a lot.”
Sunderland have not reached the third round of the FA Cup since dropping into League One, and this was another disappointing afternoon for the Black Cats.
Danny Graham twice went close in the opening 10 minutes, drilling a shot against the post and heading against the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.
But despite enjoying plenty of possession against their lower-league opponents, Sunderland’s players struggled to carve out clear-cut opportunities after falling behind.
Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson made eight changes to his starting line-up, but said: “I’ve picked a team which I felt was capable of winning.
“There are players that are injured that didn’t figure, and there are one or two we chose not to play because they’d played a lot of football and other players needed the game, but the team should have been strong enough to win.
“Over the course of the game, we put enough quality deliveries into the box to have won the game.
“The decision-making wasn’t always great and the quality wasn’t always great, but there was enough over the 90 minutes, but our desire and movement to get across people and make something of those moments wasn’t good enough to get through.
“The one cross they’ve put in, the lad has gone in with real desire, got across two of our defenders, and headed it in.
“I’ve looked at our deliveries, and there is more than enough quality gone into the box to have won the game comfortably.”