Mayo manager James Horan does not believe he has been ruthless in his approach since taking the job in October 2010.

Horan, who succeeded John O’Mahony following Mayo’s disastrous championship campaign in 2010, told RTÉ’s Brian Carthy that his management team simply set standards for the players and worked with those who were prepared to accept them.

"I think I heard Brian Cody say he would not know ruthlessness if it came up and bit him! What we did when we took over two years ago is that we set out standards and we made it very clear and explained it to people," Horan said.

"If people wanted to have a go at it they were more than welcome. Some guys came up to the standard and others did not quite make it.

"The guys that could we took them on and we’ve tried to work with them ever since."

"I think I heard Brian Cody say he would not know ruthlessness if it came up and bit him!" - James Horan

Horan, who won All-Star awards as a player in 1996 and 1999, admitted they had a difficult start to management life, but the side have improved for each outing.

"We had a tough League campaign last year with a lot of games on the road where we struggled. I suppose with a new team and management it took us a while to get going, but, ultimately, we knew that there has always been excellent players in Mayo.

"We just looked to pull them together as a team and improve them as individuals. We have improved pretty much game-on-game since then."

Horan also feels that the tough Connacht Final win against Sligo has really stood to his team this year.

“Sligo are a very good team and gave us a very tough game that day. We were probably lucky in many ways to get out of there. When you get out of a dogfight like that it’s a good demonstration of the character we have as a team, and we just kicked on from there. We kicked on against Down and again against Dublin and we are looking to do the same again in the next game.”

The Ballintubber man paid tribute to his players and said it is the playing group that are driving Mayo football forward.

“There isn’t much need to talk to these guys. They pretty much know what’s going on and, in a lot of ways, they are guys that are driving the ship. We just make sure they have everything they need to do that and we are just looking forward to the challenge now.”