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MANAGER: The focus is now on Tuesday

28 February 2015

Keith Curle with Southend match reaction

Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the Southend away defeat on Saturday.

“We’re obviously very disappointed,” he said. “Decisions sometimes go against you but we needed a big decision today for the penalty. As it was, the wrong decision was made and it did have a bearing on the game.

“We conceded what I felt was a soft goal, but the important thing then was to stay in the game. We did that, so the penalty decision was a big decision to go against us. Everybody where I was stood thought it was a nailed on penalty.

“The referee didn't give it, for whatever reason, and it was a crucial moment. That penalty would have given us a lift, and the impetus to push on, so it is a defining moment in the game. 

“You do have concerns about why the decision wasn't given. If there was no contact it has to be a booking for Riggy [Steven Rigg], and if the goalkeeper did get a touch it has to be a corner.”

“I was more than pleased with the first 45 minutes because I thought we had a good shape, good organisation and we worked hard to frustrate them,” he added. “We got the ball in to wide areas and we looked to get David Amoo on it as much as possible. 

“We went close a couple of times and I think they probably wanted half time to come more than we did. We’d made them become quite predictable and our two centre backs had coped with their big strikers really well. 

“We knew we’d get a reaction after the break and I really do think we conceded a soft goal. It was a good finish, but it was a soft goal on our part because of the decision making. People have got to be prepared to make decisions and make sure they’re the right ones. We told the players to expect them to start second half at a high tempo, which they did. We needed to keep the crowd quiet for 15 minutes and stay in the game by being compact but, unfortunately, we gave them a goal.”

“There were individual errors in both of the goals we conceded,” he commented. “The decision making for the first goal was the main one. We looked comfortable in the first half, we came in at half time and there was an air of frustration from them because we were denying them clear goal scoring opportunities, and having a fair share ourselves.

“We didn’t work their keeper as much as we wanted to in the second half and our decision making with the final ball or pass let us down. We didn’t exploit the threat David Amoo gave us anywhere near enough and we didn’t really get any forward momentum. 

“There was a temptation to change things before we did, because we were looking to see where we were going to get the spark from. We put Josh Gillies on so we could go 4-4-2, and Paul Thirlwell was the one who held the shape and tried to get us going. If the penalty decision had gone our way we would probably have held that shape for longer.”

On the run of results through February, he said: “We’ve come up against some good teams this month and they’re up at the top of the table for a reason. 

“Likewise, there are reasons why we’re at the other end of the table. We’re working on putting that side of it right. There’s a fighting spirit in that changing room and I think it will go right down to the wire. As many as ten teams could be involved in this, so there’s a long way to go.

“Tuesday is a massive game. It’s huge for the players and also for the supporters. They need to be brave and they need to come and back us. They need to get behind the players and the football club. Our preparation will be meticulous and we will do everything we can to get the result against Cheltenham. 

“The important thing is that we've got people on the bus. The same group of players who were involved today will be in the mix for Tuesday and my job is to get the focus right. The foundations and the basics are there so we have plenty to be positive about.  

“Brad [Potts] picked up a slight injury to his lower leg and that prevented him from travelling. We’ll be working to get him back as quickly as possible. Danny Kearns also picked up a leg injury, so he’s another who missed out.

“I will be governed by Troy [Archibald-Henville] as to how he feels for Tuesday. He will be doing the warm down on Monday and we’ll take it from there. We’ve asked for permission to speak to a player, to see if we can add something to the mix, but I think the important thing is for us to focus on the 18 players who were involved today so we can make sure the mindset is right for the battle to come.

“Am I confident we've got enough to do what it takes and keep Carlisle in the Football League? Yes. We’re a work in progress, but we will get there - that’s a promise.”

United Player subscribers can see a series of video interviews with Keith Curle now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

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