Keith Curle with reaction to the Dagenham defeat
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the away defeat at Dagenham.
“It’s a disappointing day because we thought we’d got one monkey off our back when we scored the first goal away from home,” he said. “That’s not something we’ve done before so we thought we were going to build on where we were after Accrington.
“I think the biggest disappointment I have is the people who ticked all the boxes last week, with what was an excellent performance, were given the opportunity to do the same thing again. I wasn’t asking them for anything new or different but I didn’t see the aggressiveness in the approach which would have allowed us to push on from that first goal.”
“It was a more spirited performance in the second half but it was a little bit too gung ho at times," he continued. “It was scrappy and we were feeding off second balls, but at least we created a bit of tempo. Overall we started well and we finished ok, but there was a massive bit in the middle which was hugely disappointing.”
On going in front, he said: “We had created a good foothold in the game and we'd gone a goal up but we needed to keep it that way for longer.
“We were up against a team who were fighting for their lives and we gifted them a soft first goal. Their second was even softer and, when that happens, that’s when you have to start thinking about making sure you stay in the game.
“Even when they got their third I thought we would still get something out of it. We had an opportunity to make it a toe to toe confrontation, when we matched their shape after the break, and we spoke to the lads about how important it was to get the next goal. Within a minute they’d scored their fourth and that was down to a 39 year old causing problems for a 20 year old.”
“The really disappointing thing is I don’t think any of their players came off the pitch knowing they’d been in a game,” he said. “I don’t like to have to say this but we got bullied. We were outnumbered in the middle and it looked like they wanted the ball more than we did for too much of that middle portion of the game.
“It was a 15 or 20 minute period where we got bullied and I don’t like that. We saw people staying outside of the game, as I would describe it, and you can’t do that. I just want to see players compete and win the ball. Once they’ve done that they can get on with winning the game.
“The changes at half time were tactical. We needed to get forward better. I thought we did that and we created more opportunities. You just need it to land for someone and you hope for that little bit of extra luck.”
“We know the preparation was right for the game and we need to demand more of ourselves once we get to kick off,” he insisted. “Turning up for 20 minutes isn’t enough. We need to be more committed than that, so it may be we need to look at how we do things.
“They have to start earning the right to be looked after by the club in the way they do on these long away trips. Do we start travelling on the day for these trips with a really early start? We’ll look at it all and see what we think will help to change this mindset we seem to have for away games.”
“I see the players on a daily basis and I know they have good technical ability,” he commented. “Sometimes it’s about playing your part and doing the ugly side of the game first and foremost. We got the scramble for our goal, which gave us a good start, but we didn’t do the work to follow that and we paid the consequences for it.
“We can talk about consistency but we’ve got that in a way we don’t want. We’re not doing well away from home and that has got to change. The stats are telling us Carlisle United don’t travel well. Those fans who have seen some of our away games will tell you have we have competed, but we didn’t get that this afternoon. We started in the right way and all we had to do was weather the storm. Unfortunately we weren’t able to.
“It’s the first time I’ve stuck with the same team and we didn’t take advantage this week when we got our noses in front. We gave away two very cheap goals and it isn’t as if the players hadn’t been given instructions about what movement to expect.
“The problem was we didn’t have the craft to deal with it. We warned them that if we tried to have a battle in midfield Dagenham would outnumber us. That meant we wanted to get it wide quickly and try to hurt them from there. We didn’t do that and we ended up with two wide men who were completely out of the game and we were effectively two players down. That is down to people not listening to instructions."