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MANAGER: It's about simplicity

11 October 2014

Keith Curle with reaction to the Stevenage game

Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the 3-0 victory over Stevenage on Saturday.

“We’re starting to see a real belief develop in this changing room,” he said. “The approach we took was to give the dressing room the information we felt they needed and, credit to Stevenage, because we felt they’d be the type of team to come here and bully us. I think they will have known that if it was a game of football we would come out on top.

“We thought they’d try and knock us out of our stride because they’ve got good aggression and lots of commitment with the way they play. We had to match that and then play, and I thought our players stood up to it and did exactly that. I said to them before kick off - the best way to deal with a bully is to go toe-to-toe and smack them on the nose. We were two up by half time so it worked for us.”

“I’m not surprised at how quickly the message to stop the opposition before we play has sunk in,” he insisted. “Players respond to simplicity and the easier to understand you make things the more they buy into it. When you have that from them you start to get the rewards.

“Some of the stuff we’re seeing is very pleasing and it comes from that foundation of stopping the opposition first of all. They’re doing that and then we’re seeing them do other things in the final third to express themselves. If things go wrong now they’re picking up and going again and that’s about belief in what they’re trying to do. There was quality in our entries into the final third and we were committed to making runs and scoring goals.”

“It was good for us all to see such a positive reaction from the fans at the end,” he said. “Another six or seven performances like that, where we see the same level of commitment, and they’ll stick with us. 

“It’s not all about results at the moment. It’s about people buying in and feeling confident about throwing their hat in the ring to be part of this. As I keep saying, the more people who come on board the easier my job is to do.”

“I’ve also said this before but the confidence we’re seeing comes from simplicity,” he explained. “The way I work is to get the simple messages across and make sure I’m putting square pegs in square holes as much as I can. Find a formation that suits the players and use it. 

“I don’t walk into a football club with any kind of philosophy other than I want to win games of football. I try to make players into a team with the mental preparation and physical exertion that’s required and we take it from there. I keep using the word simplicity and I’ve found that people try to reinvent the wheel when they’re dealing with players. Sometimes you just need to go back to basics and, in this case, that’s exactly what this group needed. 

“With the situation we’re in we need players to understand their position, understand the roles of their position and then go and play. A lot of people would have expected me to turn up at this football club with a mini-bus full of new players ready to get the club out of trouble. I genuinely believe you’ve got to know what’s in the dressing room before you can start changing anything. I’m getting to know them now and some of them are giving me plenty to think about.”

“Our players are enjoying themselves and I’m sure some of them are thinking that it can’t be this easy at this moment in time,” he said. “However, it is. Football is a very simple game which can be complicated by coaches and by the media picking holes in formations, and things like that. It’s actually a very simple game if you get your foundations right. That’s because you find that good players do the simple things very well.

“I want everyone to enjoy watching us perform. I want them to come here knowing that every player who puts on a shirt and goes onto the pitch is going to be 100% committed. The results will take care of themselves as long as we get that from the players.”

“I’m very pleased with where we are at the moment because people are buying in to what we’re trying to do,” he said. “I told the owners when I took over that I’m a leader. I was that as a player and a coach, but I know you can’t just say that then go out front and expect people to follow you.

“What you do is put the foundations in place, make people understand them and explain the rules you have in place. I think people are starting to get on board and to believe that we’re going in the right direction. It’s all small steps but it’s heading the right way.”

United Player subscribers can see a series of video interviews with Keith Curle now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

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