MANAGER: We have a minimum requirement

Keith Curle with more on the Portsmouth performance

Manager Keith Curle spoke more today about the weekend result at Portsmouth and the steps being taken to put things right ahead of the weekend FA Cup trip to Peterborough.

“We didn’t do our jobs collectively or individually and that has to change,” he said. “Everybody needs to be on the same page in everything we do, right from the kick off. We have to work as hard as we can from the first whistle to get something out of every fixture. That has to remain our minimum requirement.

“As we saw on Saturday, sometimes the best laid plans are put to bed as soon as you’ve conceded a goal within 90 seconds. Then you have to switch to plan B which is the simple case of sticking to your job and making sure you work hard to regain a foothold.”

“It was disappointing on Saturday because there are things we work on in training, particularly how to counter the counter-attack, and we didn’t get to grips with it,” he added. “We tell the players if they can’t affect the first ball then hold back. Don’t go and sell yourself.

“We also need them to understand, when people are breaking on you, when to mark the man and when to mark space. Players are getting things slightly wrong at the moment and that means we take it back to the training ground.” 

“Monday was about doing video analysis but in no way was it about pointing fingers or identifying glaring errors,” he told us. “The mistakes are there but it’s about using them as a tool. It’s about handing it over to the players to get them to identify things which they see going wrong. 

“The camera doesn’t lie and you find that players might tell you about what they thought happened during an incident. I find that as soon as you hear the word ‘thought’ the next thing to follow is an excuse.” 

“I knew we were an inexperienced team but I was quite excited by that,” he commented. “It was a chance for them to go out in front of a big crowd against a team which has a lot of experience and appearances under its belt. 

“It’s a place where you have to get the crowd on their backs and then you see how they react. We did the exact opposite. We went there and we gave them something to cheer about. We just didn’t give ourselves a starting point at all.

“I’ll be honest, I was ready to go when I got into the dressing room on Saturday after the game. But, as I said, I can make myself feel better by telling players exactly how it is and what they did wrong. All that does is add to the agony for them. 

“I’d have lost the connection I have with them and I need to maintain that. For me to be successful I need the players on board and for them not to have any fear. I will never slaughter players because they make mistakes. Mistakes are the nature of the industry we’re in.”

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