New manager Keith Curle with Mansfield Town reaction
United manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to his first game in charge at Mansfield Town on Saturday.
“The first 45 minutes was very much the old Carlisle United, as far as I’m concerned,” he added. “The second half has got to be the new Carlisle United. I think that goes for the crowd as well. They were feeling very deflated because of the first half but the performance in the second gave them reason for hope. The buoyancy from the away crowd as they tried to get that third goal for us was absolutely phenomenal. A lot of work went into that second half from everybody.”
“It’s difficult when you walk into a football club on a Friday afternoon because you just don’t have that much time,” he explained. “When you then walk in 3-0 down at half time in the game, all you can do is identify faults. You need to try to find a bit of direction for them. I told them that they were going to lose and I wanted them to show me what they were about.
“I didn’t want anyone to be in a position where they couldn’t look me in the eye when they walked off the field. The minimums we require at this club are effort, commitment, desire and application.”
“We obviously only got the one training session with the players,” he said. “We had a look at what the previous staff had been doing, and at the organisation and discipline, but you’re not going to walk in the day before the game and try and change everything. We tried to match Mansfield up and we told the lads to go out and compete man for man.”
“What we want to do is give the players a platform to play from,” he continued. “If you analyse the three goals then you see they were all soft. Balls have been put in the box and we haven’t dealt with them.
“However, you have to give credit to Mansfield because they have shown the desire to get onto things and the ball has run for them. Without that desire you don’t get the luck that comes with it. Everything you get in this game you have to earn and that process starts for us on Monday morning. We will build on that second 45 minutes, we’ll add ability to the willingness we’ve seen and we’ll go from there.”
On the game itself, he said: “I thought Kyle Dempsey was superb. David Amoo was excellent when he came on. The big man Mark Beck was fantastic when he came on as well. He challenged for everything and he gave us a big, physical presence. Danny Grainger played his position well at the back and Troy [Archibald-Henville] was a real man for us. I’ve been told he’s a player who needs to be managed but he’s one we will get onto the playing surface as often as we can.
“We had a team which looked shy and intimidated in the first half. They clearly didn’t want to make mistakes and they have to accept that, on a football pitch, mistakes will happen sometimes. As I say, I wanted to find out if they would be able to look me in the eye when they walked off the pitch at full time. They’ve had a go for me and they’ve answered a few questions.
“I think, if you look at the foundations of this football club, you see it’s a really good place. If I can get the supporters onside with the players then we will be a force to be reckoned with. To do that we will need to give the players the confidence they need to go out and play.
“That will come from giving them a remit to express themselves. I could spend hours and hours picking the first half performance apart, because it’s one I won’t forget for a long time, but I’ve also got 45 minutes after the break which will stay with me for all of the right reasons.”
“This is a job we will work at morning, noon and night until we get it right,” he insisted. “We’ll have them doing double training sessions, but it won’t all be physical. A lot of it will be mental work and making sure we analyse our strengths and our weaknesses. The second half showed us this team has potential and that’s what we will focus on.
“My teams don’t play with fear. They go out and they try to express themselves. You expect players to make mistakes in the second division but you can deal with that as long as they are honest. The crowd stuck with us because they saw the response from the players and I hope they go away feeling they have seen signs of better things to come.
“I said when I came in that I wanted to take a look at everybody before I started to make decisions. There is room for manoeuvre but nobody will leave this football club until I’ve seen what they’ve got. If I then feel I need to bring better players in, and that will be in my opinion, then I will do so.
“I need the players to buy into me and these lads know the first half wasn’t acceptable. On another day we might have nicked a draw with the way we responded, but the reason we didn’t get anything is that we gave them a three goal start. We don’t need to be doing that in future. That stops.”