Keith Curle with reaction to the Accrington Stanley game
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the home win over Accrington Stanley.
“It was a difficult game because they are a very good side,” he said. “They play to their strengths and they are inventive, bright, have good movement and have good exchanges of passes. They have belief in what they’re doing and good honesty in the final third.
“We knew we had to match that and we knew we would have to stand up to them defensively. It was a case of if we could manage that we knew our forward players could hurt them.
“You might say that on another day we could have won the game comfortably, by two or three goals, but I don’t mean that to be disrespectful at all because Accrington are a really good team.”
“I think I’ve said before that you need nine chances to score a goal,” he commented. “We created a number of chances in this game and we only came out with one to show for it. The important thing is that we’re getting people in the right places and we’re creating these opportunities. If we keep doing that they’ll go in.
“Our goal came at a very good time. I thought we were going to go in two up at half time because we had another very good opportunity, but it wasn’t to be. That would have made it more comfortable but there are still a lot of pleasing things from the way we won this game.
“Derek [Asamoah] likes getting goals and he is getting fitter. The thing with him is that if he is fully fit then he won’t be playing in League Two. That’s why we’ll give him four days off this week - so he can’t work on his fitness!
“As part of the incentives we’re giving to players he knows he needs to score. Goals will definitely come for him because of the way he plays, but we’re not a one man team. We have creative players in this squad and they’ll all play their part. The more options we get, with players coming back from injury, the more enjoyable training is and the more opportunity I have to put square pegs in square holes.”
On the approach taken before the game, particularly following the FA Cup disappointment last weekend, he said: “I changed my mindset after the Peterborough game because I felt everyone was expecting a pat on the back after what was a good performance. We had to manage everything the lads were feeling and we did that by working hard in training.
“Monday is normally a recovery day but we used it as a work day this week. They came off that training ground with Saturday’s FA Cup result completely erased from the memory banks. We did the same on Tuesday, so they were both solid work days. That helped us and we took that level of preparation into today’s performance and I thought we got everything spot on.”
“You can only have so many ‘unlucky’ stories when you’re down the bottom,” he continued. “We’re trying to change that mentality. Yes, we knew we got a performance against Peterborough, but there were things we needed to tidy up on.
“There is a lot of work that goes into training. We do spend time coaching the players as well as training them. They’ve got a good belief and understanding in the organisation we’re looking for and they’re getting to know their roles and responsibilities.
“We did a video analysis session on Accrington on Friday but we also used it to get our players to talk about the jobs other players had to do. So, for example, we had our right back telling us what our left winger was going to be doing. If you get that sort of understanding, where everybody knows what is meant to happen within the framework of the team, then it gives you something solid to build on.”
“I’ve said before that we need a squad ethic here where everybody is ready to take their chance if it comes along,” he explained. “Brad Potts is out with a very minor calf strain but Danny Kearns came in and kept the ball well. He showed us some great bits of footwork and he’ll be a good asset when he gets a bit fitter.
“If I can get Danny doing a lot of his work in the final third then he will be a threat. We need to get him out of that comfort zone of playing the game in the middle third because that isn’t where you win games. We’re working on getting him to do that and to exploit people in the attacking areas. When you have somebody with happy feet like he has they are very difficult to mark.”
And the manager admitted that his pre and post match team talks had been kept deliberately short following some sound advice from the Professional Footballer’s Association.
“I gave a talk before the game and told the lads that the PFA had done a poll of players and it revealed that footballers believe that 96% of what a manager says before a game has no bearing on the result,” he told us. “I took that on board and all I said to them before kick off was – good luck.
“After the game I told them the same poll revealed that 100% of what a manager says after the game doesn’t change the result. So, all I said was - see you on Monday. I kept it really simple.”
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