Keith Curle with reaction to the Exeter City game
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the Exeter away defeat shortly after full time on Saturday.
“We came here with a game plan and we started in the way we wanted to play,” he said. “We looked organised and disciplined and we had a good understanding of the roles required to stop the opposition from playing.
“Everything was going to plan and we were comfortable with where they had possession of the ball. It went exactly as we thought and we knew we could catch them on the break. We had the better of the half chances in that first half and I think we gave ourselves a platform to build on.
“If you haven’t taken one of those chances you are always wary of a lapse in concentration. That was what happened to us because I think they had the first clear cut chance of the game and their lad stuck it away. That was really disappointing for us.”
“I think David [Amoo] will be the first person to hold his hand up and say that if he does have a weakness in his game it’s the defensive side of it,” he explained. “That’s not through a lack of effort or unwillingness to do his job. He just seems to switch off at crucial moments sometimes.
“We’re trying to get him to communicate and we’re telling him he needs to keep the play in front of him. We don’t want people on his blindside who can run past him. It’s something we’ll keep working on.”
“Like I say, we had good shape, organisation and discipline for about 60 minutes but I still think we didn’t use the ball well enough when we had it,” he told us. “We didn’t use Mark Beck enough and we didn’t have people supporting him on enough occasions. With a bit more belief and quality we could have got the goals which would have changed things for us. We didn’t get that but there were real positives for us to take.
“We’ll look at the DVD and we will learn from it. Second division players are going to have downsides to their game and we have to work hard to eradicate them. At the moment the mistakes are costing us, but we’ll deal with it.
“When you go behind you have to be a bit more expansive because you want to get something out of it. We didn’t get as many crosses as we would have liked and we weren’t as progressive as we wanted to be. We weren’t as clinical as we wanted to be from set pieces either and we need to be more aggressive in our attempts to hit the target. We had three or four headers go over the bar and if you do that you have no chance of scoring. Keep it on target and it either rebounds back or the keeper has to deal with it, and anything can happen.”
“I’m very confident we’re going to stay up,” he insisted. “We are still a work in progress. We move straight on now to next week because we do have pleasing things we can take out of this game.
“The players took notice of the attention to detail in the preparation we did and they coped with the change to the formation. It was good to see Brad Potts back on the pitch because he hadn’t quite done enough to start for us. We brought him on because we felt we needed a bit more mobility going forward and we weren’t getting on the second balls when we hit Mark Beck. I wanted us to be more aggressive with the ball and he has that about his game.
“He got some vital time under his belt and hopefully he’ll be available to start next week. That’ll clear any doubt in his mind and he’ll know in himself he can now put his hat in the ring for Saturday.
“I’m confident we will have people who will step up to the plate in the coming weeks because they know what’s at stake. We know there are going to be disappointments but it’s how we react to them that matters. We’ll be back in training on Monday as we work towards getting a result.”
“We were up against one of the smallest teams so set pieces is something we definitely need to work on,” he said. “One of the big things which came out of our talks with the players over the last two weeks was how we handle disappointment.
“Nobody wants to come away from here having been beaten 2-0 but we have to handle it. We’re taking really small steps but we’re getting there. We picked up a few little knocks, with David Amoo and Troy Archibald-Henville, so we’ll have to see how they are.
“Troy built up a decent partnership with Tom Anderson but they will probably be disappointed, as a pair, with the second goal. On the whole we nullified a very good team so we’re taking small steps in the right direction.”
“I went for a walk this morning, as part of my usual routine, and I bumped into Paul Tisdale,” he commented. “He has his routine, where he goes to the same café every Saturday, so I had a quick chat with him. He mentioned that he’s had nine years to put his team together.
“Every player at his football club is there by his choice. That makes a difference. He’s been able to formulate a style of play and that gives him peace of mind because he knows he is responsible for results. We’re still trying to come to terms with our best style of play and the pleasing thing was the way we handled that first half.”
“I was talking to some of our supporters before the game and we have to applaud their effort and commitment,” he concluded. “They deserve our thanks. You don’t get out of bed on a Saturday morning to travel to Exeter on a whim. It’s part of your make up and your tradition because you want to follow your team. It’s absolutely fantastic.
“From a playing point of view, if you don’t put your half chances away then it’s going to turn into a tough day. Nobody likes losing but the one thing I can credit the players with today is they stuck to their tasks.”
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