Nigel Clough bans players from celebrating goals at Mansfield Town

Nigel Clough has called time on over-excited goal celebrations at Mansfield Town – PA/Richard Sellers

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has told his players to stop celebrating wildly when they score a goal, and to save their energy for the rest of the match.

The 57-year-old, who won the League Cup with Nottingham Forest as a player, says the time to savour the moment and salute supporters is after his team have earned success.

Clough’s team are third in League Two and their celebrations have been reserved when they have found the net this season, with their manager wanting them to keep concentration and not expend energy. His team have instead acknowledged their fans after the final whistle of matches.

“I don’t really see the point of celebrating goals when the game is still in the balance,” Clough said to BBC Radio Nottingham.

“If you score a last-minute winner and you know it’s almost the last kick of the game, then by all means. But do your celebrating at the end of the game, which is why we [Mansfield] always go over to the supporters.”

Last weekend featured Manchester City midfielder Rodri celebrating with a knee-slide when he thought he had scored the winner against Chelsea, only for Cole Palmer to score a stoppage time equaliser in a 4-4 draw.

Clough, who has also enjoyed promotion success with Burton Albion as a manager, says the time to celebrate is after an achievement.

‘You got a little pat on the back, a pat on the head or someone shook your hand’

“Yes, you have that individual moment when you do score, but I think it goes a bit over the top,” he said. “Be a bit more reserved about it, save your energy certainly – because when they kick off, you have to go get the ball back.

“At the end of the game, if you have been lucky enough to have won, then that’s the time to celebrate. Even the end of the season, because yes you celebrate each win, each unbeaten game, but then if you don’t achieve anything it’s a little bit wasted.

“But the individual games are important to recognise when we have this great record. We have just won for the first time at Salford when we haven’t been brilliant – we dug in and won, scored two good goals and that in itself is worth a little celebration, but nothing over the top.”

Clough scored more than 100 goals for Forest as a player between 1984 and 1993, during a time when celebrations were more reserved compared to today, where there is a pitch-side camera to pick up players’ reactions when they score.

“You got a little pat on the back, a pat on the head or someone shook your hand – people like Ian Bowyer or Garry Birtles, who have have won European Cups,” Clough said.

“And even when you see them scoring in semi-finals of the European Cup, or even the final, there was no everyone running into the corner flag and everything because they knew then that once they kicked off, you need all the energy you have got to get the ball back to try to preserve your lead, or increase it or whatever.”

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