Martin Allen was impressed with his team’s performance against Mansfield Town, but believes that pressure on the Stags made things more difficult for Barnet’s opponents.
Speaking after the match, Martin said:
“Mansfield have just beaten Exeter City 3-2 away, and they’ve just won a local derby against Notts County 5-0.
“There was also a big crowd here today, that was full of energy and enthusiasm.
“I think that their manager has done a fantastic job with recruitment; putting together a really good team.
“He’s a young manager that deserves a lot of credit, and he’s certainly one to look out for in the future.
“I tried to get that across to all of our players – that this was going to be a tough, tough game.
“I thought that we acquitted ourselves very well, that we looked dangerous going forward, but that we could have had a bit of care and quality in the final third.
“In the second half I think that they had one shot, from a free kick that was 30 yards out – our goalkeeper made a ‘Gordon Banks type’ save.
“Apart from that, with the wind coming down the hill, I thought that we were probably the team in the ascendancy.
“But what I will say is that we’re just playing for fun at this time of year.
“We can’t go up and we can’t go down, but this was a really big game for the Mansfield players, staff and supporters.
“They had to beat us, which also brings an added pressure.
“It’s difficult for managers and players to deal with, and also the supporters as well.
“They were all expecting Mansfield to beat little Barnet!
“But we aren’t little Barnet, we’re a decent little team!
“We’ve had good form for a few months now; drawing at Accrington and at Exeter, beating all the big clubs and the big teams.
“So we’re pretty decent ourselves.
“We’ve got a good run of form going and an excellent squad of players who I really enjoy working with.
“We play Yeovil Town next week, and then we go away to Crawley.
“We’re trying to keep rotating the squad and giving everyone a game, but what I will say is that they’re making me very happy at the moment.
“I’m enjoying watching the team play and I’m enjoying working with them.
“Some of the senior players need to play at the moment – some of them are out of contract in the summer and some of them deserve the opportunity.
“I can’t kid myself – in a few weeks time I’ve got to make decisions on players.
“That’s stressful and very difficult for me, and means that these games are very important.
“All those players deserve the opportunity to play, but our younger ones were also involved this afternoon.
“Harry Taylor has come on for 25 minutes today and done really well.
“There were another couple of 18 year olds on the bench too – I’m running out of Haribos pretty quickly, because all the kids keep eating them!
“They’re experiencing what it’s like and they’re getting used to it.
“To be honest with you I’m getting them ready for August and giving them a taste of it.
“We’ve got another few good young lads, but some of the senior players who have done well deserve opportunities to play in the team.
“They’ve trained so hard and they’ve been so good to me.
“We’ll keep preparing the players as professionally as we can – as we have done for this match, and as we’ve done every game.
“Players that have done well in training will get opportunities, and the players that haven’t done so well won’t play.
“Tom Champion and Curtis Weston are out injured at the moment, but the lads that have come into the team have done great.
“I’ll never be happy though, and I never am happy!
“They’ve all got to keep doing better, and they’ve all got to keep doing more.
“I’m never going to just accept where we are, because we’ve all got to strive to improve what we do.
“That includes myself, the staff, and the players – whether it’s John Akinde or one of our 18 year olds.
“The demand is that they make themselves the best that they possibly can – week in, week out, day in, day out.
“I think that the day that you sit back, that you’re comfortable and happy with what you’re doing, is the day that you shouldn’t be doing this job.”