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MANAGER: Players have to learn from mistakes

2 December 2014

Keith Curle on learning from mistakes

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us today about his plans for the next two weeks as he looks ahead to a Saturday without a game.

“I don't want to be enforcing punishments because people have made mistakes,” he said. “I've had to go back to my remit and understand that are going to make mistakes.

“The players have got to learn from them. It would be easy if it was one player doing it because you could take him out of the team but, at the moment, they're all making mistakes. I've got to accept that because it's the reason we're in the position we're in.” 

“We’ll spend time on the training ground and try and eradicate the errors that are being made,” he continued. “They’re all simple things and players who are paid thousands of pounds a week make mistakes as well. What we want to do is get rid of that fear factor where you feel scared to make them. Players will always make mistakes but we can't punish them every time they do. 

“What we want to try to do is make sure they’re made in the right areas. That’s not in front of our goal or in our half. If you're going to do it, make sure it’s in and around the opposition area so you have time to regroup. 

“Every week you see teams concede goals from set pieces because somebody hasn't done their job. It happened to us at a crucial time against Newport. The player who scored from the corner should have been marked. The goalkeeper made an error of judgement and the player who should have been marking him didn't do their job. 

“We've got a lot of young players who are going to make mistakes. We've got to accept that but we’ll be highlighting that to the players so they can learn.” 

“The natural reaction to not having a game this weekend would have been to run them every day this week - but what does that gain?” he asked. “It would probably have made me feel better for about four seconds, but it doesn't help or stop players from making mistakes. We're going to spend our time on the training ground identifying areas we can improve on because that’s the only way they will learn. 

“If you have a look at Newport, without being disrespectful, they've got a non-league mentality. They've got players who know how to play in non-league who are aggressive and get in your face. They took that into the first half on Saturday and we couldn't cope with their directness or their physicality. 

“We’re in a relegation dog fight and we aren't going to get out of it playing pretty football. We'll get out of it playing fast, entertaining football in the opposition's half, but to do that we need to have a backbone. We need solidity at the back and throughout the team.” 

“We need to get Saturday's result out of the system very quickly,” he agreed. “It's a lot easier being a manager when you're winning every week, but you still have to do the same things when you aren't. 

“You have to make sure the players go out believing they're going to win. I know where the club was when I came in, we turned that round and moved out of the shadows, but there is another cloud appearing because of results. We've still got the same players, I'm dealing with somebody else's poker hand, I can bluff my way through and say I've got four aces but eventually I will find out I haven't.”  

"We need to win games to really change things,” he commented. “The shackles were off and people needed to express themselves when we first came in, and that hasn't changed. 

“The players had their Christmas do on Saturday night and the easy thing for me to do would have been to tell them it was cancelled. I went into my office instead and I left them in the dressing room for a while until I went back in.

“I reminded them we’re in a relegation fight. This dressing room has got us into this position so this dressing room will get us out of it. I'm sure at some point throughout their function they were thinking about the impetus that’s needed to get us out of this situation. Is team spirit found having a few drinks somewhere? I’m not sure it is. You get that out on the pitch doing your work.”

United Player subscribers can see a series of video interviews with Keith Curle now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

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