Keith Curle with reaction to the Tranmere Rovers game
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the impressive away win at Prenton Park.
“The pleasing thing about the win was that the planning, preparation and detail we give to the players started on Monday, and they’ve seen it through for us today,” he said. “They knew exactly what to expect and how Tranmere would set themselves out to play.
“We got the mental preparation right because we knew how to deal with what Tranmere had and we knew how we could cause them problems. It suited us to try and make them play in a way that would work for us.
“That meant we had to stop them from playing and get them using long, predictable balls forward. We needed the players to do their jobs individually and that, in turn, meant the unit was working collectively. I thought we did it all very well.”
“This isn’t an easy place to come to,” he added. “Micky Adams makes sure his teams are fit, robust and they show a level of aggression, which makes you work hard. They use the ball very well and they have a level of purpose in their play. You’ve got to match that step by step.
“I told the lads at half time that I thought we looked comfortable. However, we warned them they couldn’t take even one step back because Tranmere would see that as a weakness. It was a game of confrontation and we stood up to it. That was something for us to enjoy and look forward to. I wanted us to relish it, but win it.”
On his team selection, he said: “Everyone will have their opinion and that’s the beauty of this game. Every point I’ve gained since I got here has been won for the right reasons. I don’t feel I have to gain points to prove people wrong.
“I’m paid to make these decisions and I’ll continue to make them for the right reasons. I won’t always be right, but I will be making them for the right reasons. I know the players, I see them on a daily basis, and I know what’s needed for us to perform against the opposition we’ll play against.
“That means I’ll tinker with the formation and personnel, if I need to, and I’m already looking towards Tuesday night. We have a slight disturbance to that because of Kyle Dempsey’s dismissal, but we have a group where I know I can put players in positions and I know what they’ll deliver.
“I won’t ask anyone to do something they can’t do, and that’s why we went with Anthony Sweeney today. It was very combative and that suits him. We didn’t want to give people time to settle and he helped to stop that from happening. I make decisions based on what I think will get us a result and I will always back myself, and the decisions I’ve made.
“I spoke to Brad about the reasons and he was disappointed, but he understood. He will be really hungry to get back and be involved again and that’s what we want to see.”
And on the Dempsey sending off, he said: “Players get caught up in the emotions sometimes. In hindsight, he would probably handle it differently. We were two up and their player was about to get booked for kicking the ball away. He didn’t need to get involved.
“However, we weren’t in the heat of the battle. I made some decisions during my playing time which I regret. We’ll deal with it as part of the learning curve for Kyle. I’ll speak to him on Monday and it will be dealt with in the appropriate manner. We can’t have people being ill disciplined or losing their focus. However, like I say, he’ll learn from it and he’ll move on.
“It opens the door for someone else to come in and show us what they can do and I know they’re all ready for that. We still know where we are, but we also know what’s needed to keep this run going.
“The other selection issue we might have is with Troy Archibald-Henville. We have a situation with him where we trust him, and we listen to what he tells us. We’re very much governed by whether or not he feels he will be able to perform. If he tells us he isn’t feeling right, we take that on board. It’s one we will have to watch over Sunday and Monday, and we’ll make our decision after that on what we see and what he tells us.”
“We’re obviously pleased Charlie got his goals,” he said. “He’s come into the club with a work ethic, and he also has ability and an eye for goal. He’s getting to understand his role within the team and he wants to do well.
“He’s been working on how to get the best out of his game with Colin [West]. He’s been able to get good information and training, as have all the players, and I think they’re all learning new things every day.
“Charlie knew he needed to kick start his career with this move. He’s determined to make something of himself, he has the right attitude, and I have no doubt he has the ability to play at a higher level.”
“It was a day for us to show unity as a squad,” he said. “All of the players travelled and that shows what we’re about. We’re all in it together because who knows who is going to be selected on Tuesday. I know I now have a changing room that is committed and which is also developing mental strength.”
“We have to say thank you to our fans again,” he concluded. “We all wanted to go over to see them at the end but we don’t just want to do it for the sake of it.
“I want us to make sure we can see faces and show our appreciation. The backing they give us is fantastic and they deserve the correct kind of acknowledgement.”
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