Keith Curle with reaction to the away draw at Burton
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the away draw at Burton on Wednesday night.
“We showed some good game management and we were also due a little bit of luck,” he said. “With honest endeavour like this the luck will continue to come.
“The lads are proud of themselves in that dressing room. They’re proud because they’re able to say ‘that’s us and that’s what we’re about.’ The attention to detail was absolutely magnificent and that’s all I can ask for.
“I still stand by everything I said after the Accrington game because it was done with honesty and an intention to get a reaction. I know these players can perform better than what we saw on Easter Monday, and I also know they can take honest criticism.
“If I think there’s someone in that dressing room who isn’t doing it then I’ve got to be allowed to tell them. I can’t keep saying well done to failure. I know I took a gamble with the decision I made after the Accrington game to let the players know that it wasn’t an acceptable performance. There’s a minimum requirement when you put this shirt on and you have got to believe in yourself.
“Some people would wilt under that level of criticism but professional footballers are different, because it’s about being challenged and taking those challenges on. Once that’s done it’s about delivering. The changing room needed the win they got against Dagenham and this performance tonight.
“I see what they can do on a daily basis and the players showed a side to their play a lot of people would not have associated with Carlisle United. They were prepared to put bodies on the line, block things and battle for things, and they showed a real discipline about the way they did their jobs.”
“It was a master class of defending from the players,” he commented. “They’ve earned the accolades and they’ve earned the pats on the back.
“I knew we were inviting pressure onto us with the system we played. I didn’t think it was the right night for us to have another person up front because Burton are a very good team. We showed them the respect the quality of their players deserved and we had a game plan to deal with it.
“The players only had a short time to work on the change in formation but they took it on board and they showed an understanding of why we were doing things in the way we asked. Burton are top of the table because they do the right things consistently, and that’s what we’re trying to bring into this football club.
“We did the horrible side of the game very well against them and the basis of our performance was the fact we wanted to work hard. It was a performance we needed because of the position we’re in.”
“The praise has got to go to the players after a game like this because their performance levels were bang on,” he insisted. “They’re starting to see the rewards of the work they’re doing on the training pitch, and they’re starting to understand what will come of doing the horrible side of the game we keep talking about.
“We’ve come into the back garden of the team at the top of the table and we’ve caused them problems. It wouldn’t have been a surprise if Brad Potts had grabbed us the second goal at the end of the game, and we’d come out of it with a 2-0 win. That’s the type of game it was for us.”
“Losing the goal so late in time added on is a real disappointment, but it happens,” he said. “You accept it and you move on. I had all of my staff telling me time was up, but it obviously wasn’t. There’s nothing we can do about it so we look at the real positives from the night and get ready to go again.
“Saturday is now a massive game for us. Plymouth will have had us watched tonight and they now know they’ll have to compete. We weren’t able to show our attacking flair in this one because our forwards had other jobs to do for the team. We defended as a unit and that unity will help us to be successful.”
On some of the huge individual performances, he said: “Derek Asamoah was excellent. I know I can get more out of him, even when he’s in pain and his tank is empty. Not many people can do that with him, but I know he’ll always give me everything.
“Steven Rigg was the same when he came on. Suddenly we had our centre forwards chasing the full backs down. I like that. Sean O’Hanlon was really disappointed that he had to come off and he was telling us to do whatever it took to get him back on the pitch.
“We couldn’t get it sorted enough, but Nathan Buddle came on and he grew into the game. I was pleased with him and with David Atkinson. We saw good, aggressive defending and there were lots of plusses to take out of it for everyone.”
“Looking ahead, Courtney [Meppen-Walter] is available, but the only thing he’s lacking is game time and training time. He’s chomping at the bit and he’s desperate to be involved.
“Same as any player at this club, he has to earn the right to get into the team because we’re trying to build something here. Being fit isn’t enough for anybody. They all need to be applying themselves in training and knocking on the door with everything they do. Charlie Wyke was missing because he took a knock in training, but he’ll be available for Saturday.”
And his final word was left for the fans.
“The supporters who came tonight need massive praise,” he told us. “They out-sung the Burton supporters and they’ve been top of the league for a while now. That’s because our fans came and enjoyed watching their team work hard. Supporters will always appreciate that.”