Keith Curle with reaction to the Portsmouth game
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the disappointing Portsmouth away day.
“I have to be honest about this one and say it was men against boys performance wise,” he said. “They deserved the result but it’s a game where it gave me another chance to look at our players.
“As I say, there are things I do like and there are things I don’t. That’s going to happen when you inherit a football club where this one was. We have to remember we’ve taken a good few strides forward and the important thing today was not to dismantle that.
“I didn’t want to undo a lot of the good hard work that’s been done in that changing room at full time. We’re still taking baby steps and I need them all to remember that. I could have gone in there and given a team talk to make me feel better. That’s just not the way I do business.”
“One thing I have done is told Danny Grainger I’m going to offer him a new contract,” he revealed. “I told him to come and see me on Monday because he has a level of professionalism and attitude I like. I want to be around people like that.
“The message I’m putting across is that players who do their job, and do me proud, will be rewarded by me. Danny is a good man and I wanted to reward him in front of everyone else. He didn’t waiver from his duties one bit and that’s a huge positive from the day.
“There will be others I need to talk in the coming days and weeks but I just felt this was the right time for everyone with what had just happened on the pitch. If you’re around me and you’re giving me everything there will be rewards.”
“Sometimes you give players the platform to go out and express themselves but what you can find with a young squad is that they can make the wrong decisions,” he told us. “Things won’t always go well but what we will not do is dismantle all of the hard work which has already gone in to turning a squad of players into a team.
“We are a very young squad but it isn’t going to be a case of pulling that to pieces. It’s more me wanting to add to what we already have in place. I knew we would have bad days when I walked in to the club but the pleasing thing is we halted the bad run.
“We aren’t making huge strides but even in defeat we are still taking steps forward. That’s very important to me as a manager and as a coach.”
“I’ve said all along that now is not the time to panic,” he insisted. “We’ve been beaten by a very good team. I can deal with that and I’ll have to accept it because there’s nothing I can say now to change what happened.
“The way we started the game, particularly our decision making in key areas, was disappointing. That will change over time. We have young players who will learn by their mistakes and, as they do, they’ll find it’s all part of the process of growing stronger together.”
On the late sending off, he said: “It was a poor first touch. It was then a rash challenge but the lad was up very quickly once he knew it was a red card. It wasn’t the best tackle and it probably summed up Hayden’s night.”
“The early goal obviously made life very tough,” he agreed. “At other stadiums you find you can lead the lads from the sidelines to help them through it, but the noise levels here made that very difficult. They didn’t get their distances right and a team with experienced players like this will exploit that and leave you with an uphill battle.”
“This is a night where the players will go through some amount of self analysis,” he said. “It’s all about learning and you have to do that in defeat as well.
“It was fantastic to see the number of fans we had with us again today. That’s why I made sure all of the players went over to acknowledge them. I’m very thankful for their support and I know it’s going to be a long journey back for them. They’ve seen their team get dismantled and that’s never nice.”
“We’ve got another tough game coming up and we have to remember I have seven injured players in the squad,” he commented. “I need to know where they’re at and I also need to look at the strength in depth with the players I’m going to use on a regular basis. If there are some who aren’t going to get the game time they require with me the best thing for them is to go out and get some football elsewhere.”
On defender Tom Anderson’s Football League debut, he said: “I liked his aggression and I liked the way he wanted to compete.
“It was a tough one because he was in a back four which I thought became a bit lazy. I didn’t enjoy seeing that and it was something I wanted to change at half time. The urgency for people to go and do their jobs at set pieces wasn’t there and we needed to sort that out. That’s why we made those changes because if you’re a defender it means you have to defend your goal. One thing you know is the ball will come into the box. You have to go and deal with it.”
“We aren’t going to feel sorry for ourselves for too long,” he concluded. “We have a job to do next week so, like I say, we learn from this and make sure we’re better in every area when we go out there to face Peterborough.”
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