United manager Keith Curle ahead of the Tranmere Rovers game
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the visit of Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.
“Tranmere will be a tough game because they’re fighting for their lives as well,” he said. “But teams will now know that we aren’t going to be a soft touch.
“We aren’t going to roll over and whatever Tranmere get from Carlisle they are going to have to earn. I don’t think Mansfield had to earn that result last Saturday. We gave them three soft goals and that’s a situation that has to change.
“Tranmere will be looking to get a foothold in the game as quickly as possible - exactly the same as what we will try to do. A new manager coming in can sometimes have a reaction and that’s what I want. It’s not what I’m hoping for, it’s what I want.”
“Obviously we want the fans to be with us and to back what we’re trying to do,” he continued. “This is their opportunity to come and have a first hand look at the start of what we hope will be a wave that turns into a tidal wave on the field.
“All I can say to everyone is come and be here at the beginning. The pebble to start the wave got thrown in the second half at Mansfield and we now need to build on that.”
“We’ve nearly got a full squad and things are looking good,” he confirmed. “Antony Sweeney has seen a specialist and he’s been told it needs to settle down for another 72 hours. We think he’ll be about a week or ten days but, as I’ve been told by my medical staff, he’ll be ready when he’s ready. As soon as he’s available he’ll be back again.
“The job for me is to work out what I think will be the strongest eleven who will play the way I want them to play. Part of my remit when I took the job was to turn a squad of players into a team. I need the workings of that to bear fruit on a Saturday.
“The immediate remit from this football club is to stay in this division. That could take us right up to the last game of the season, but we’ll be working week in and week out to make sure we are competitive in every single game we play.
“It’s too soon at the moment for me to have looked closely at everything we have in the dressing room. I still have two or three players who haven’t been able to make the training pitch yet – Robson, O’Hanlon and Meppen-Walter – and I do want to see what everyone can do. The pack will be shuffled a bit this week, though, so we could see a few changes to the starting eleven.”
“For us to get out of the situation we’re in we need to score goals,” he explained. “We need to be attack minded when we have possession of the ball and defence minded, as a team, when we haven’t got it.
“I like to win football matches. I like my players to go out with a level of aggression and with a desire to win. As a fan you want to come and watch a game your players want to win and they also want to be entertained.
“Application is the minimum standard I will accept. I want to see players applying themselves to the job in hand. One thing I can’t guarantee is results.
“I gave the players a small questionnaire and I asked what they thought about the last few months. The clear message that came back was that we don’t start games well. They also said the reaction from the team when they go a goal down has been very defeatist. We’re points adrift at the bottom of the league so there is obviously a lot of stuff for us to work on.
“Can I stop the team from going behind 1-0 on Saturday – no. Can I get the team to start the game better – yes. We’re going to start the game with a tempo and a focus and, if we’re able to go a goal ahead, I might be able to change some of the attitudes of the players. They need confidence and they need belief and they get that from doing the same things day in and day out and by doing them well.”
And on the mood in the camp, he said: “It didn’t feel like a fragile dressing room in training on Monday and Tuesday. I think the lads picked up on the second half performance at Mansfield and they’ve now been given the freedom to express themselves in training. We know we got beat, but we got beat in the right way because of that second half performance.
“All results and performances are my responsibility. If we get beat, blame me. The performance levels are down to me. The lads will have the freedom to go and perform and I will take care of the results.
“I know there’s enough in the changing room to get the points we need. I know I can add to it as and when needed and I’m going to mould this squad of players into a team with a winning mentality.
“I spoke to Neil Warnock and he told me he’d been for an interview where he was asked a question by one of the directors about his style of play, and whether or not it would suit the supporters. His answer was that he would be winning games. I have the same philosophy. I like getting three points and I want to get that same determination and desire from all of the players. I think people will get on board with that.”
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