Keith Curle with reaction to the Accrington Stanley game
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the disappointing performance and defeat at Accrington on Easter Monday.
“First and foremost I think I need to say the goals were an embarrassment,” he said. “The strength of character we showed was alarmingly weak and we need to see people grow up, and quickly.
“There’s a naivety and lack of passion and players are allowing other players within our team to make mistakes, but they aren’t doing anything about it. I’ve had to make sure I’ve told the players that it isn’t acceptable and I want them to come out and prove me wrong.
“There is an element of accountability when you’re a professional. They should have pride in their performance, but we can’t say we’ve had any of that from this game.”
“What it’s all about now is the players being able to express themselves,” he told us. “It just takes one person to cause the spark and then everything changes. It can be a great save from Dan Hanford, a goal from one of our strikers or a crunching tackle in midfield.
“At the moment we have everyone waiting for somebody else to bring that spark. This isn’t the time for that. We’re in a position after this game where we can’t defend ourselves, because we haven’t performed at all.
“We’re seeing a lack of personality and mental strength in the changing room and we’re now asking them to show us what they’re about. There’s enough in there to keep us in the division this year and, once we’ve achieved that, the rebuilding can start. Right now it’s about doing the job that’s needed.”
“We’re in this position because of the fragile nature of the dressing room,” he continued. “You find that people in there get on board when it’s going well. We need everyone to be doing their bit all of the time and, if other people aren’t doing it, they’ve got to be told.
“I think we saw within 20 minutes from kick off that we weren’t seeing or making the simple pass. That’s why I decided to send on the easier option of giving them Mark Beck to aim at. The first goal we conceded was a weak goal with their player walking through people to get his shot, and that put us on the back foot.
“We started the second half with two very good chances and it would have been completely different if we’d scored from one of them. Their second goal was as simple as it gets. They had a wide man stood on the touchline and you know he’s going to get it and put it in the box. We sat back and let it all happen. The third goal was just a calamity.”
“That tells me we have people who aren’t prepared to do the ugly side of the game,” he said. “Not one of our players comes out of that performance with any kind of credit at all. One of the things Tony Caig identified, and he’s been involved with the club for a number of years, is that there has always been a spirit in the dressing room.
“We’re lacking that at the moment. What we want to see is people talking to each other and telling each other when they aren’t doing their jobs. They’ll be criticised by their supporters after this game and rightly so. It looks like they don’t care enough and only they can change that.”
“We have fantastic fans and it’s going to be them, playing their part, who will get the best out of these players,” he commented. “I know they need to see the spark as well but, once they do, they will back this club to the hilt. The backing is there and the role of the fans now is to give the lads that support.
“It will be the passion the fans have which will keep us in this division. I need to get a reaction out of the players because they’ve been told at the moment that they’re soft. People aren’t performing and that’s having a negative impact. The players have to put it right.”
“I will keep this club in the Football League, I can guarantee that,” he insisted. “I’m staking my reputation on it. Everything I do or say is done with the utmost honesty and this is a situation I’ll face and we will pull through and be stronger for it.”
And on some of the players who weren’t involved, he said: “Patrick Brough wasn’t involved but now isn’t the time for us to talk about that. He wasn’t out through injury but we’ll have a statement on that when the time is right.
“Steven Rigg picked up a slight knock, so he needed a rest, but he should be available again this week. We’re waiting for dialogue on Jeffery Monakana from his parent club. He’s been seen by them so we should know where we are with that in the next few days.”
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