Keith Curle with reaction to the Boxing Day victory at Morecambe
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the Boxig Day away day victory at Morecambe.
“Part of my team talk was about the mental and physical preparation for the players for this game because it’s very easy to get sucked into the festive spirit with your friends and family on Christmas Day,” he said. “I trusted them to enjoy their time with their families but there comes a point where they have to retreat and make sure they are right for the next day.
“I asked them not to let me down and I wanted them to make sure they brought a positive attitude into the game. I think we have to say credit to them because they’ve done it properly and they gave us a terrific performance.”
“As a team, the preparation wasn’t ideal because we lost a day of training to the weather,” he told us. “I wanted to change the formation and personnel, because we’re trying to find a blend that works and we’ve highlighted that we want a bit of strength in the midfield area. We had one day working at that but it rained so heavily on Wednesday we weren’t able to train.
“That meant we did a lot of work on the board and in trainers, out on the pitch, so that we didn’t damage the surface ahead of Sunday’s game. Like I say, it wasn’t ideal but the players took on board what we needed and wanted them to do.
“Our opposition analyst, Lee Dykes, had four or five permutations of the way he thought Morecambe could line up so we knew it was going to be a battle. First and foremost we had to make sure we stayed in the game and then we knew we would go on to cause them problems.”
“I was very happy with the toe to toe encounters because we didn’t back off and we looked up for it,” he commented. “We had opportunities to play in the first half where I didn’t feel we played enough. That changed and we looked dangerous on the break in the second half.
“It’s pleasing to see the way the players took on board the instructions we gave them. We’re not at a level at the moment where we can just roll out performance after performance, home and away. We have to work at it and we all have to know our roles.
“We have to take every game on its merits and some of the players in the changing room have to take it that way as well. They’ll be in and out, in and out, as I shake it all about and look for the team I feel will get us a result.”
“Scoring a goal on the break was good for us because that’s something we felt we could exploit,” he explained. “It was a little bit soft, but it was a shot on target so we’re more than happy to take it.
“We wanted the physical stature of Mark Beck as a focal point to give players like David something to feed off. Brad Potts and Kyle Dempsey were given licence to work from midfield but, if you do that, you need someone with Antony Sweeney’s mentality to slide across and keep things narrow.
“Courtney Meppen-Walter was in an unfamiliar role but we talked him through it and there were a lot of things he did well. It was his type of game and he did very well for a young man who was thrown in there.”
“That doesn’t come as a surprise because all of the coaching staff at the club now wants to encourage the players to do the right things,” he said. “There is an acceptance that players will make genuine mistakes but we want them to be doing that in the right areas. We want them to be trying to make something happen and not have the mindset where they feel they can’t do things.
“It’s only the second time I’ve put a consistent back five out and, in my opinion, successful teams are built on that. It’ll be interesting to see how many of them I’ll be able to get out for the game on Sunday.
“Connor Brown has an injury, Troy [Archibald-Henville] has a persistent knee problem and Danny Grainger is complaining of lower back pain, but that’s immediately after the game. Hopefully a good night’s sleep and a training session tomorrow will help to loosen things up for them.
“The supporters came here today and all they wanted was to see guts, determination application and desire, and I think they got that in abundance. They were absolutely phenomenal for us.
“I took the whole squad and the staff over to them at the end of the game to show proper appreciation for the effort and commitment they make week in and week out. They deserved that from us because we really do appreciate the backing they give us.”
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