Manager Keith Curle at his Monday morning press conference
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us at his Monday morning press conference following the long weekend trip to Plymouth.
“I think we have a lot of positives to take out of the weekend,” he said. “Their shape caused us concerns for the first 15 or 20 minutes but we adapted well.
“We got a little bit more belief in our distances after that and we nullified their strengths. Being honest, we didn’t cause them any problems in open play, but you get games like that and particularly when you go up against sides which are full of confidence.
“It was one of those games where you start to think if you’re going to get something it will come from a scruffy set play, or something like that. I’m disappointed that we weren’t as organised and we didn’t have a leader on the pitch when we went through some of the routines we do.
“That’s something we’ll spend more time on because the whole squad has to know what their roles and responsibilities are when they go out there. Everyone needs to know what they’re doing so our set pieces doesn’t just become a case of throwing the ball into the box. We want to be more deliberate in our attempt to score goals because set plays are a great opportunity to get things going.”
On the way his side approached the game overall, he said: “Teams at the top of the table are there to be respected, but not feared.
“That was a message we gave to the players before the game. You must always respect the people who deserve respect, but that isn’t just for football. I think that’s a good thing to take into life. Show people the right respect and you’ll have nothing to fear.
“As I say, the disappointing thing was that we didn’t do enough in open play. We’re asking people to be more aggressive. That doesn’t mean we want over the ball challenges or the wrong approach. You can adopt an aggressive attitude without all that, and that’s a trait you tend to find the successful footballers have.”
“The pleasing thing was that we finished the game in a positive way,” he told us. “They wanted the final whistle to come which means we were playing well.
“We made the two changes at half time because I wasn’t happy with our physical presence against their two centre forwards. I thought we needed a bit more muscle in there. I get paid to make decisions and our personnel know they have got to be ready at the drop of a hat to go on and do a job. If I see something, and I think it needs to change, then I will do it. Particularly if I think the changes I make will be for the benefit of the team.”
And with the Burton game just round the corner he confirmed the squad is starting to look healthier in terms of numbers and competition for places.
“We’ve got players coming back from injury now so we’re getting near to having a full squad to choose from. Danny Kearns has been missing because had a recurrence of a thigh strain where he just pulled a little bit of scar tissue. That needed to settle down so we’ve given him time for that to happen.
“We’re gaining knowledge and information about the players in the changing room all the time at the moment. We’re forming a team ethic in the changing room which is very pleasing and people are buying into us and what we’re trying to do.
“Every day is a school day as far as I’m concerned. I’m seeing what the players have got in their locker with every day we spend on the coaching ground. Allied with that is identifying things that might be deemed as a weakness for them.
“We’ve seen a slight improvement in results but we are nowhere near where we want to take this football club. There’s work to do, but we’re getting there.”
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