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MANAGER: Starting to see a bit of steel

9 February 2015

More from Keith Curle on Tranmere and the emergency loan window

Manager Keith Curle spoke more about the weekend victory at Tranmere at his Monday morning press conference.

“I’m under no illusions about how we had to get those points,” he said. “Was it pretty, attractive, or what I would call sexy – no. It was what was needed and required. The aggression levels were high and that was very pleasing.

“I’ve said before, I thought there was a softness ... a nice softness ... in the dressing room when I first got here. They felt sorry for themselves if they went behind and that needed to change. 

“We’re starting to see a little bit of steel, and that comes with confidence. They’re starting to look forward to confrontation because it’s been explained to them that it’s what we need for the good of the team.”

“If you look at successful teams, they can cut it both ways,” he added. “They can play football and they can go toe-to-toe. They have players who can turn from ball players to ball winners. That’s what we’re trying to create at the moment. Certain teams will want to mix it with us and others will want to play.

“We didn’t start well on Saturday but we showed a good desire to protect our goal. It could have been another Wimbledon, with the way we started and allowed them to have a chance within the first minute, so that tells us there are still things to improve on. 

“We defended manfully as a team after that and it gives us more to build on. I like it when the opposition don’t score against us because it means we’ve all done our jobs.”

“As I said on Saturday, there are bound to be questions over team selection every now and then but I will always pick a team based on what I know, and what I think will win us the game,” he explained. “I think we’ve got a squad which is in a much better place than when I first came into the building.  

“Sometimes what we do won’t be pretty, but it will be effective. As we saw at Tranmere, we got close, we kept things tight and we forced them to play the way we wanted to play.”

On the interaction with the fans at the end of the game, he said: “I think getting close to the supporters at the end is important because I don’t just want to see an acknowledgement from 40 or 50 yards away. 

“I know what goes into supporting this club and I want that to be appreciated - win, lose or draw. Hopefully we’re starting to pay them back for showing us that loyal commitment.”

And with the emergency loan window due to open, he said: “I’m still mindful that we’re a little bit top heavy, with certain players, and we want some of those players to get out and gain football time. 

“There’s nothing worse for a player on a Saturday than not playing. A level of frustration can build up for those who aren’t getting close and that can cause problems at the club. I think there’s a realisation there that they need to get working on a move so the season doesn’t just peter out for them.

“We haven’t had too many enquiries but we haven’t had a loan for a player to go out of the club turned down for demands on wages. That’ll probably be a disappointing thing for some of the players. They’ve been made available, but it hasn’t broken down on negotiations at any point, because we haven’t got to that stage. 

“We have to remember we were down the bottom league, so when you’re saying players are available for loan, where are they going to go? Another fact we have to contend with is a lot of people don’t send their scouts this far north. That might sound daft, but it’s true. They’ll wait to see a player closer to home because they won’t spend the money on sending a scout this far.

“However, none of the players made available have had the door closed on them here. The pleasing thing is they are all doing extra work. If you mentioned a double session at Carlisle United previously, people would think the players had done something wrong. Now they’re asking to do more. 

“That shows a level of competitiveness is building at this club. It’s a change of mentality and culture for them, but it’s enjoyable. This is a results industry and the preparation to get those results is massive. Everyone is buying into that now.

There are a lot of good things at this club I don’t need to change, but there are other areas where we can do better. It will take a bit of time, but we’re getting there.”

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