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MANAGER: We earned the right to win

5 October 2014

Keith Curle with Hartlepool United match reaction

United manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the convincing away victory at Hartlepool on Saturday.

“I spoke to the players after the game and I knew they came off that field absolutely shattered,” he said. “They gave everything they had to me and that’s what we want our players to do.

“When they have that feeling coming off the pitch you can’t ask for any more. Results are down to me but they give us a chance every time if they’re going to do that. I can try and get them organised but I then need the application from the players. You get results when you’ve given everything and that’s what has happened in this game.”

“The players who are starting now are beginning to understand that we have to show every opposition we come up against the respect they deserve by stopping them and by earning the right to play,” he told us. “Once you’ve done that you earn the freedom to go and express yourself in the right areas.

“Let’s make no mistake about it, even at 1-0 they had a goal threat, with good players, and we had to earn the right to go on and win it. We had a great save, some good blocks, goal line clearances and a desire to protect our goal. We earned the right to take the three points.

“We are now giving ourselves a foundation to build on. If they give me everything and they don’t get what they deserve, I will deal with that. If they haven’t, then questions will have to be asked.”

“Steven Rigg’s performance is a message for all of the young and aspiring players at the football club,” he commented. “I saw something in him not many others would have seen. He came up to me during an 11v11 training session, not long after I’d got here, and he told me he’d taken a knock. I told him I needed him to carry on but he did have a nasty gash on his leg. He rolled his sock up, got back into the fray ... and I like that. 

“He played against Newcastle, up front, on his own, and we got an absolute trouncing. He spent all game feeding off the scraps but he still showed the willingness and desire to go and fill holes and do his job for the team. He earned the right to get a chance because of that.

“He has a goal scoring record to be envious of and it doesn’t matter what level you play at, scoring goals can become a habit. I’ve seen some great determination in him and he works his socks off. Like I say, there’s a message there for everyone. If players do that then they will get the reward, because I’m always watching them all.”

“We are still by no means a finished article,” he said. “We are a work in progress and I’ll keep reminding people about that. Everybody is starting to come on board and they are starting to believe in themselves. That’s one of the biggest things because if they believe in themselves we’ll be fine.

“The big picture is for us to stay in this division this season. That remit has not changed. Everybody has to play their part in that in every game. The little ingredients in the individual performances are important because that’s what will win us points.

“This will sound conceited – I hope it doesn’t – but I told Steven Rigg and Mark Beck they would score on Friday. I know that if a player who is 6ft 5 has the desire to get into good areas, then the likelihood is he will get chances.”

“We do a lot of work on discipline and shape during the sessions,” he explained. “We have to have that because, without it, we’re going to make life hard for ourselves. My job is to win football matches and I don’t care who the opposition is or what the competition is. We have to maintain the mentality of doing our job properly so that we can get some momentum going.

“We’re not going to win every football match, that isn’t what happens. All I can ask is that the tank is empty when they come into the dressing room. If they do that for us then that is how we will stay in the Football League.”

“This has been a day for us all to enjoy,” he said. “The last time I came here, with Notts County, we lost and I got the sack. It was the day Poole and Hartley scored; I can remember Jeff Stelling mentioning that and it did my head in. It’s good for me to get that monkey off my back – pardon the pun – and it’s great for us all that we have another vital win under our belts.” 

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