Keith Curle with reaction to the Wimbledon game
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the 1-1 draw with Wimbledon.
“I feel the same way as the players down in the changing room,” he said. “I’m slightly disappointed knowing we didn’t get the fluidity in our play that we expect. Our passing wasn’t sharp or crisp enough but we did create opportunities and goals do change games.
“If we’d got the first goal then I think it might have been a different encounter. We showed good character and resilience to come back into the game and we didn’t just go with long ball and route one.
“We created enough chances to win the game comfortably and Jason [Kennedy] had two great chances in the first half. If one of them had gone in then it would have given us a big lift. He’s a player who will get into double figures, I have no doubt about that, because goals are coming from him.”
“We looked solid, which was pleasing after conceding eight goals in two games,” he continued. “I thought we dealt with a lot of the things they tried to do comfortably. They scored from their first shot on target but overall we nullified a lot of their threats. They were happy when they got their goal and it looked like they were going to sit in and camp.
“We were a massive threat from set pieces and we got good first contact on the ball without quite getting the definitive effort that could have brought us rewards. We did have a game plan, with playing Jason Kennedy in the wide areas, because we’d noticed something in their play where we felt we could get goal scoring opportunities with him being on the opposite side to Jabo Ibehre.
“We went through the formation we wanted to play on Thursday and Friday. We saw an area we thought we could exploit, by getting Jason into scoring positions, and we changed that as we went through the game. That’s what we’re prepared to do to try to get results.”
“I think the stats will show we were the more adventurous team,” he commented. “It’s easy to say this after the event but if we’d scored first it could have been a completely different story. Their goalkeeper held the ball for a long time so I think we know what they came up here for.
“It would be nice to go in front for a change, and then really step on the gas, because goals are coming for us. We’re identifying and getting players into the areas we need to be in to score. I have no doubt someone will get turned over by three, four or five goals from us.
“Jabo Ibehre is a good example for us because he is a real threat every time he’s facing goal. He’s leading the line really well because he’s playing the game with a smile on his face. Being honest, I felt he could have been a little bit more of a goal threat, but he’s enjoying himself and you can’t argue with his return at the moment.”
“Being really critical about the game, we have to be better in the final third because we didn’t think quickly enough or move the ball fast enough in those areas,” he said. “That was a little bit of a hangover from the midweek journey which is understandable, but not acceptable. In my mind that comes down to mindset, because if you tell yourself you’re tired then you will be.
“The mental approach to games is another area we are going to develop and work on. You have to remember that the human body is a fantastic machine and when you know where the right switch is you can get more out of yourself. I don’t like negativity or mental weakness. I can accept when things don’t go your way but that should never be down to lack of effort.
“We know we’re work in progress and there are things we will keep working on. Some of the players came in and told us the grass was too long. Players do sometimes say things as a reason why they haven’t been as sharp as what they should have been, so I’ll speak to Dave Mitchell and ask him if he can give it another little trim!”
On the absence of Kevin Osei from the match day squad, he said: “Kevin took a knock on the Plymouth journey so I think he’ll struggle for Tuesday. We’ll get some work into him before Monday and if there’s no reaction to that he’ll travel with us. We’ll just have to wait and see.
“I had another conversation with Courtney [Meppen-Walter] on Friday and he’s going to get his agent to speak to Bolton on his behalf. There’s nothing further on him at the moment and that’s another one where we will just have to wait and see.”
And on the work being done on three potential new recruits, he said: “We’re trying to get permission to speak to a couple of players because we’re a football club that likes to do things the right way.
“We’re within touching distance of three players and I’d be happy if I got one over the line. I’d be ecstatic if it was two and, if it was three, I don’t think the club would be very happy!
“Seriously, though, I’m a realist and yes, it would be nice to bring all three in, but I still think we’re top heavy squad wise. We need to make sure that we do fits with where we’re trying to go because we have a good squad mentality building here and we want to add to that – but not just for the sake of it.”
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