Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the 2-3 home defeat against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.
“It was a really disappointing day,” he said. “That’s the level of inconsistency we’re dealing with.
“The biggest disappointment is that everything has been right through the week. There has been good attention to detail, planning, preparation and attentiveness to the players. The application of the players in training has been spot on, even as far as the warm up today.
“We’ve gone into that looking sharp and everyone around the players said the focus was good and the tempo was excellent. We told them what to expect from Wycombe but we were really slow at the start.
“They have a good approach and mentality about their play but they didn’t bring any surprises. They did everything we expected but, very quickly, we became tentative and we didn’t have anyone who was prepared, or brave enough, to make good decisions.
“The team talk before the game was all about them being prepared to make decisions and about them backing themselves to make good ones.”
“Again, we’re looking at this happen to us because it’s the level of inconsistency we’re dealing with. We’ve had positive signs in all of the last four games but we’re lucky today that the score line flatters the performance. We tossed the ball away when we had chances to play on too many occasions and that’s where we need to look to be more productive in the final third.
“A lot of people will look at 3-2 and think it was a decent game between two combative teams who had to fight it out. It wasn’t like that. If you look a little bit deeper you’ll see we didn’t start playing until we were 3-0 down. Suddenly we became brave because there was nothing to lose.
“We need to have that attitude from the start. The shackles have to be off when we kick off because we need to be able to stand up for ourselves and be brave through every minute of the game.”
“We’ve had to talk about disappointments like this a lot recently and the only way to stop it is to put the work in on the training ground,” he commented. “I went back to the back four that displayed a solidness and resoluteness against Shrewsbury. I know we conceded the two goals in the last minute but throughout the 90 minutes of that game I thought we defended very well.
“We looked solid and compact and well organised, so that was the thinking behind going with the same back four again. Unfortunately those same players were a complete contrast to that today. They had the same instructions but they didn’t look anywhere near as solid as we have done, and that’s really frustrating.”
“What we don’t want to have here is players who are training ground players,” he added. “I don’t want them showcasing their talents on Thursday only to then not produce on Saturday. That’s the area we will work on because we want to see our players having the belief to be able to make those decisions during a game.”
On his team selection for the day, he said: “I will always pick the team I think will win us the game.
“I felt I needed to freshen things up and I had a look at what the opposition offered as well. We knew they had energy, athleticism and enthusiasm in the middle area of the pitch and we tried to match that up with a little bit more mobility.
“Wycombe play a high line, with a good understanding of their roles, but there is space behind them if you can exploit it. That was the thinking behind playing Derek Asamoah so we could try and utilise that space.
“We didn’t give him enough ammunition to feed off and he was incorrect in his decision making a couple of times. That wasn’t just him, though, because it happened all over the pitch. We were second best in every decision making department.”
“Troy [Archibald-Henville] didn’t start because of a lack of time spent on the training ground over the last week,” he explained. “The players we used have been producing the goods on the training field and they get picked on merit from what they show throughout the week.
“He hasn’t been able to do enough work because of his inability to train consistently. I wanted to give him a rest today knowing we have games coming up on Saturday and Tuesday. It was important to get Patrick Brough game time because Danny Grainger is now suspended, having picked up his tenth yellow card. Troy will work hard again this week and we’ll look at it again for next Saturday.
“Danny is a very combative player and he likes a tackle. It’s a situation he’s faced for a few weeks but sometimes you’re going to catch a player if you have that level of commitment. We obviously had the sending off for Mark Beck and, being polite, it was a centre forward’s tackle. That’s probably enough said on that.”
“I took Courtney [Meppen-Walter] off in the first half because his distances weren’t right. It was one of those days when it wasn’t going to be his day. Rather than risk too many errors or poor decisions from him I took the opportunity to change it.
“I had a chat with him just after half time and I told him what I thought. I also asked if he had other things on his mind and a few things got said which showed it wasn’t quite right for him. The good thing is I know that there isn’t too much damage done.”
“The fantastic beauty of this game is that people have opinions, and rightly so,” he said. “I’m paid to pick teams and make decisions. That’s always based on what I see in training and what I know I have available to me in the changing room.”
On guarding against a loss of confidence, he said: “We will keep working them hard. We’ve been up against a side with real belief and that’s what we need to work towards.
“We’ve given Raphael his debut and it’s a case of welcome to the second division and welcome to Carlisle. He’ll get up to speed with it all. He only had a day’s training with us so there will be improvements in his game. He’ll have an understanding of what to expect now, and that’s the unexpected from everywhere and anywhere.
“He came highly recommended from Neil McDonald and the coaching staff at West Ham and we felt the attributes he has are well suited for what we need here. There is no stipulation that he has to play so he’s here to fight for his place.
“I have no complaints about him. He’s shown some good signs and I’m sure he’ll enjoy his time here. He’s added a bit of competition to that position and it’s good to have that all over the pitch. My job now is to pick the right team.”