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MANAGER: Our fans have been phenomenal again

8 November 2014

Keith Curle with reaction to the Peterborough FA Cup fixture

Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the late goal and heartbreaking defeat in the FA Cup first round tie at London Road on Saturday.

“It was typical cup tie football,” he said. “We gave a hard working and disciplined performance and we played some really good football. We’ve worked on shape and using the ball all week and we did that part of it well. 

“We were a little bit loose in the midfield areas, at times, but we stuck to our shape and we nullified the way they wanted to play really well. We knew Derek [Asamoah] could cause problems with his awareness and movement and he got a goal for us from doing that type of thing. 

“I like the way he plays and he knows he’s here to score goals. He had a slight twinge just before I substituted him and we’ll have to see how that settles down over the next few days.”

“At a goal in front we just wanted to get through to half time,” he continued. “We wanted to see if we could have the same resolution in defending our goal and we thought we’d seen it through. Their crowd started to get edgy and frustrated and we knew, if they started to push forward, we’d start to see a few more gaps.

“I think Dan [Hanford] only had to make one good save from one shot in that first 40 minutes or so. They had to play through us because they couldn’t get round the back or down the side. We dealt with and defended a lot of what they had to offer until they scored from that corner.”

“Our game plan was to come here and stop them from getting momentum, and we achieved that,” he said. “We wanted to keep the ball and try to exploit them when we had it, and we created some good chances. 

“There’s a lot to be proud of individually and collectively. Nobody likes to lose but we’ve lost this game in the right way. It’s helped to put the performance at Portsmouth behind us because that definitely wasn’t the way to lose a game. We got a lot of interceptions and regains and just a bit more belief as we were breaking and it could have been much better for us.”

“What I’m pleased about is we’ve come to a League One club, which is doing well, and they know they’ve been in a game,” he commented. “Their first goal came at a time when it made their manager and supporters happy and it meant they could be a bit more adventurous in their work in the second half.

“It was a good performance and the more people we get back and available to help change our formation and tactics the better we will be. Players are getting fit now and that gives us more choice about what we want to do.”

“We’ve made five changes today and that’s the beauty of having a squad,” he explained. “I want every player, however many there are, to be able to play. I don’t want bit part players who travel but who won’t be involved. I want a squad where, at a drop of a hat, I can call on any of them and they’ll do a job.

“Alex [Marrow] missed out because he has a problem with his adductor muscle. He played through the last few minutes at Portsmouth with it, and that was one where we’d used all the subs and he had to stay on. That won’t have helped him.

“We had a bit more experience in the side and I picked the team I felt would come here and understand their roles within the formation we wanted to play. If anything we looked like the team that was going to get something out of it in the latter stages.

“I was slightly disappointed with the free kick we gave away but we cleared that one only to let the ball come back into the box. That shows you’re likely to concede goals if you don’t get that first header on the ball. You really feel for the lads when you watch it going in because it was a fantastic effort from them.”

On centre back Tom Anderson, he said: “I like my central defenders to be reliable, dependable and comfortable. He does exactly what it says on the tin. He heads it away, he kicks it when he needs to and he makes good decisions. 

“With him and Courtney [Meppen-Walter] they were playing against strikers from a club from a higher division, and for 90 minutes they did very well.

“Our other new defender was Connor Brown and he also did very well. He made a few poor decisions in possession of the ball, but that’s because he’s a young man who has come into a team after just two days of training and he’s trying to impress us. He’s a tenacious defender, a good communicator and his positional play was good. He has a lot of positives to take out of that.”

“People say we can concentrate on the league now but I wanted to stay in the cup,” he insisted. “I don’t think they would have relished coming to Cumbria for a replay, and particularly not after seeing the application we put into this game.

“There’s disappointment in the dressing room because they know they had an opportunity to stay in the FA Cup. Everybody wanted to be sat round the telly on Monday to see who would come out of the hat. I’m sure they’ll still watch it but this time they’ll be thinking it could have been us. That isn’t to be so we use the way we’ve approached the game and the way we played as the starting point for what we want to do at home against Accrington next week.”

“Our fans have been phenomenal again,” he told us. “They’ve seen a battling performance against a very good team and the lads are getting plaudits for the way they’ve played.  Fans will only ever ask for commitment and I think we gave them that this afternoon.”

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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