Keith Curle ahead of the trip to Portsmouth
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the trip to Portsmouth on Saturday.
“I think we go there with confidence,” he said. “The focus since full time last Saturday has been on getting three points at Portsmouth. It’s been an exercise in mentally refreshing everyone this week and making sure we’re in the right frame of mind. We go there knowing we can cause problems.
“One of the big things down there is the crowd and the atmosphere they create. It’s a great stadium, the type I call old school, and I’ve enjoyed going there as a manager, coach and player. It’ll be a different kind of task for our players to adapt to it and see if they can handle it. It’s a proper Saturday afternoon game of football at Fratton Park as far as I’m concerned.”
“If you get Portsmouth on the right day they can look average,” he continued. “Get them on another day and they look like a team which should go up automatically.
“Their fans are fantastic and they have stuck by their team. They have a very similar sense of humour to our fans. They enjoy their football and they make sure they go to be entertained.
“Our travelling support is phenomenal. It’s something to be admired because we're going to places like Plymouth and Portsmouth and getting a really vocal support.
“Colin West and I went for a walk in Plymouth and supporters were coming out of cafes and wishing us luck for the game. We do mention that to the players because the effort that goes into people going all of that way to support them is huge.
“The minimum they require is for them to have a go and give everything to the shirt. I think the supporters have been rewarded with that in recent games.”
On the injury situation, he said: “That’s just something we deal with. We still have a very competitive squad and we want to make sure all of them are up to speed. We don’t want anyone doing us a favour by saying they feel fine, when they aren’t 100%. They all need to perform.
“There’s an approach at this club where when the players think they’ve given everything I want them to give a little bit more. There are times when I want them to try things and I feel I’ve given them a platform to do it. As I keep saying, it’s still a work in progress.”
“The fitness levels of all of the players are fantastic,” he commented. “I've been impressed with the way we've been finishing games even though the players have been coming off exhausted. We've pushed every team physically and that’s very pleasing.
“The players are enjoying themselves at the moment because they’re not being asked to do anything that’s foreign to them. They’re throwing what they’ve got into it and they’re reaping the rewards.
“We're still in the discovery stage. I am a demanding coach and person because I want the best for them, and they’re gradually starting to believe in themselves and each other. If you've got players who believe in themselves and the players around them that makes a very successful team.”
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