Keith Curle with Shrewsbury match reaction
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the late turnaround against Shrewsbury on Tuesday night.
“This is probably the hardest press conference I’ve had to do since I’ve been here,” he said. “We had a lot of talk in the build up to the game about sexy football, and it wasn’t meant to be derogatory in any way. It’s just the terminology we used.
“The way I feel at the moment is like seeing my ex-partner out with another bloke. It’s absolutely killing me. This is a time when I don’t need pats on the back saying we gave them a good run for their money, or we did well and we did this or that. The fact is we didn’t win a game of football we should have won.
“Let’s make no mistake; I am here to win games of football. I’m not going to get into the habit of accepting good performances without results. Right from day one I’ve said that if the players look after the performances, I will take care of the results.
“Yes, there are lots of positives and pats on the back for lots of people, and they will get them. However, right now, we didn’t win a game of football we should have won, and that disappoints me. I’ll deal with it and I’ll make sure the players also deal with it in the right way.
“The pleasing thing is that more and more people are now getting on the bus and there is a work ethic and commitment here. People are starting to enjoy their work and they are striving to improve. The result today shows me we’ve still got a way to go, but people are facing in the right direction and they are also walking in the same direction – that has to be pleasing.”
“Games like this are all part of the learning curve,” he continued. “We had good, detailed planning, which was done in a short period of time, and we had good organisation and understanding of our roles.
“We had good defensive shape and we were a threat going forward. It’s fantastic to have game changers on the bench, who came in and played their part, and I thought we looked a decent side at times.
“If we’d got the second goal I don’t think too many people would have argued. You’ve got to give Shrewsbury credit, though, because they’ve come up against a very robust team and they were brave and they kept playing their football.”
“The fact we have to face is we lost a game of football in the space of a few minutes,” he told us. “You can break things down with every goal you concede, and we had possession on the edge of their box for their second one. The other was us defending a corner.
“These are basic things you can put right and work on. What we have to do now is handle the disappointment. That’s my biggest thing because I have to handle it as well. However, what I don’t want, and won’t accept, are pats on the back and people saying we played well. That attitude got this football club where it was. Yes, we have done a job well, but it wasn’t quite well enough.”
“Rightly so, players got pats on the back at full time,” he said. “But they were also left to know, in no uncertain terms, that you win and lose games in 18 yard boxes. If you’re defending a corner you have got to get locked off. You don’t let people get runs on you and you don’t get blocked. You just don’t lose the first contact inside that area.
“I think it’s something like 70% of that first contact ends up with a goal. We had warning signs earlier on when Matt Young cleared the ball off the line. You have got to stop people’s runs and you have got to keep the marking tight.
“Again, seeing the game out, is that done by trying to play little one-twos on the edge of their box, or by trying to play it into areas? That’s about learning as well, so we’ll keep working on these things and we will keep improving.”
On the late keeper change, he said: “Obviously we’re disappointed with what happened to Mark [Gillespie]. A situation arose where he became unavailable, but we won’t go into that just now. We had no second thoughts or concerns about Dan Hanford. He came in and did an excellent job. He had a good taste of it earlier in the season and he’s been chomping at the bit to go again.
“Charlie Wyke is in a vein of form and he’s a real threat. He’s getting his goals because of the work he’s doing outside the box as well. He works hard and he gave us a springboard. He is a credit to his former parent club and we think he will give us even more.
“There are positives all over the pitch, and it is right to talk about them, but this is a results industry and we didn’t get anything from this game. That’s the negative side to all of it.”
And on how he handles the disappointment as the first team manager, he joked: “It’s days like this when I wish I drank. Sparkling Water and Lime Cordial aren’t going to get me to sleep.
“I’ll sit up and watch the DVD in its entirety, as I always do, and with a neutral eye as much as I can. I will tell people if they have done well, but part of my job is identifying areas for improvement. We’ve come a long way from where we were, but what we don’t want to do is get into the habit of saying well done to everyone when we aren’t getting results.
“We’ll build a reputation on positive results, nothing else. We had a result tonight and we threw it away. I don’t think we can ever accept that as the norm.
“I’m getting to know the Carlisle fans and I think they feel the same way. There’s warmness about them but there’s a demand for effort, commitment and desire to do the right things. Overall the lads ticked those boxes tonight because we know we’re fighting for our Football League lives. We’ll continue to compete and hopefully we will all get the rewards because of it.”
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