Keith Curle ahead of the visit of Cambridge
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the visit of Cambridge United for the first home league game of the season on Saturday.
“Cambridge are a strong team physically and they are well equipped for a combative game of football, if you decide to play that way,” he said. “We need to make sure we’re happy with our game plan and that we can counter their style of play. It should be a fantastic game of football for people to watch because they will see two different approaches coming up against each other.
“We know they can come at us aerially, so we have to have the right people in the right places to deal with that. We’ll need to work hard to stop them from getting good quality deliveries into the box.”
“If you want to go toe to toe with Cambridge and make it a physical encounter then it will be a long afternoon,” he added. “Play the game to our strengths and it can be a long afternoon for them. We’ve got to make sure we respect what they bring to the table because they are a good, strong side.
“I named the team today and it has been a very difficult decision to make. The fundamentals of how we want to play won’t change, whoever is picked, because we have a squad of players who can do the job they are being asked to do.
“Getting it down to 18 is very difficult and I haven’t decided on the substitutes yet. I’ve still got time to ponder that but the players I choose to start, and those I choose to go on the bench, are all honest decisions. Picking the team and the match day squad is done with the mindset that we want to get three points.”
“We’re in a results based industry but it’s also about the performance level at this early stage of the season,” he said. “We want to see that the players are able to take on board the instructions they’ve been given when there are points at stake.
“The pleasing thing is we’ve seen they’ve put it into practice and enjoy a bit of success because of that. This season is all about building a playing philosophy based on success, which involves doing things properly. We’re unbeaten in our first two games and that was one of the pillars we wanted to get in place when we started this season.”
“I’m happy with where we are physically and mentally and the character in the changing room is good,” he told us. “There’s a unity building here and that brings other people involved with the football club on board as it grows and spreads. That’s good because I want people to enjoy watching the growth of a successful team.
“Word is starting to spread that we’re playing entertaining, attractive and free-flowing football. This is an attack minded team which wants to score goals. We want calmness about our defending and we’re seeing the appreciation from the crowd at the way we’re trying to play our way out from the back. We’ve only just started, there’s a long, long way to go, but we want people to come and see us start this journey.
“We’ve tempted people into the football club on a number of occasions but what we need to do now is get them in and make sure we don’t disappoint them. That’s why we’re going to try and play football in the right way. There have been too many false dawns where people have left here thinking – here we go again – because we’ve led them up a garden path and we haven’t delivered. I think we have people within our ranks now who can keep the momentum going.”
With three weeks still to go until the transfer window closes the United boss admitted that he has four targets set very firmly in his sights.
“We have a dossier being prepared on four players,” he told us. “We’ve seen two of them at home and two of them away over the course of the last week. It’s important that we know as much as possible about any player we look at so that we are prepared and ready when it becomes the right time to move.
“The good thing is that I haven’t spent all the money I have in the budget. There’s an availability of money to spend, but I’m not sat here thinking I have to go out and buy someone just because it’s there.
“We’re trying to be progressive so if we find a player who will add to what we have, and who has the right skill sets, that’s excellent, because we know have money available.”
On players going out the other way, he said: “A club has shown interest and we’ve allowed one of our players to go out on trial with them for four days to see if he fits into their overall scheme of things. We’ve allowed him to go down there until Tuesday, which also fits with the schedule we have for the first part of next week. It’s a good opportunity for him to showcase his ability.
“We have one new face in with us at the moment. He’s not quite up to speed yet, and he knows that himself, so he’s not even in contention to be given a trial. He’s a player I’ve worked with before and he is here to get himself fit and then show us that he can be an asset.
“He’s played at the highest level, when he went from the Championship to the Premier League in the early stages of his career, and he’s a character I know quite a lot about. He’ll tell you himself he hasn’t been enjoying his football over the last couple of years but that can be the case for a number of players.”
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