Keith Curle with Cambridge match reaction
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the Cambridge defeat at his post match press conference.
“I think that’s a game which shows the fine lines and fine margins we’re dealing with,” he said. “They’ve had one shot at our goal and it took a deflection and crept in.
“Overall it was a very even contest between two teams who tried to deal with the blustery conditions. The wind stopped a lot of the forward play but one deflected shot was the sum of their attack, and it was enough to win a game.”
“We created some good openings and we just need them to start going for us,” he added. “Steven Rigg hit the bar and we looked dangerous from set pieces, with plenty of confusion in their box. The second half delivery wasn’t as good but, again, the elements had a part to play in that.
“They weren’t passing their way through us and they didn’t create a huge amount of goalmouth action. We nullified almost everything they threw at us, apart from that one shot which won them a game of football.”
“There wasn’t a sustained tempo in the second half but the conditions do affect things when the wind is as strong as that,” he told us. “The ball ends up swirling about and the players aren’t as confident with the passes they want to make.
“However, I don’t have a problem with the level of effort and commitment. If I have a criticism it’s the fact we over compensated in the final third and hit the ball too hard. That meant we saw a lot of balls go out at the back stick.
“We had a couple of scrambles, and the ball was cleared off the line, and you think that half a yard here or there and it could have been our day. We’re talking about these margins again and the only way we can turn it round is by continued hard work.”
“This isn’t a side struggling with confidence at all,” he insisted. “We’re seeing a squad that needs some help. It needs an injection and an impetus to help it to kick start things and push on again.
“It reminds us how important this month is. Players are playing to keep their shirt but we do need a freshness about us. The work ethic is there and the desire and willingness to do well is there. We need a bit of luck, as I said, but you earn that by working hard.”
On the negative reaction from the fans, he said: “I have no complaints whatsoever with people being frustrated because, let me tell you, I am as well. There’s a lot of hard work going on in the background to get results, but what you don’t do is lose focus or lose sight of what your aim is.
“I’m asking the fans to stay with us, because good things are going to happen. Don’t just clap when we’re doing well because we need you when things are tough. Make no mistake, things are tough at the moment, and we need everybody on board.
“We had some players who wanted to react to what they heard at the end of the game but it’s about keeping yourself professional and focused. The result hasn’t gone our way but we don’t start falling out with people because of it. These fans want the best for us, and we get them back onside by continuing the hard work and by making sure we don’t take our eye off the ball.
“We’re in a battle and the easy thing to do is to help the opposition. I’m not going to help them by giving anything away and we will keep doing our jobs until we get the results we want. We need a little bit of freshness but we also need to build on the hard work being done in that dressing room. That starts again on Monday morning.”
And on the reaction to the Courtney Meppen-Walter substitution, he said: “We’re playing Courtney in a slightly false position and you’d be surprised, when you move from centre back to midfield, at the amount of ground you need to cover.
“It can be difficult, so we’ve been working on his fitness levels. Part of that is getting up to 60 minutes at full tile with him in games. What we don’t want is to see him slip into a tired mode where he suddenly isn’t able to give us everything. I told him before the game to give us that 60 or 65 minutes because it’s a completely different thing to playing at centre back. I don’t fully trust him in a midfield two right now because, as I say, he’s doing a job for us to the best of his ability.”
“I’m hoping to have more players in before we go to Wimbledon next week,” he confirmed. “I don’t think we have enough in the way of character in the dressing room at the moment. We need that, and a bit of experience and professionalism, to continue the work I’m doing. I need to make sure I bring in the right people with the right attitude on and off the field because you need mental toughness when you’re coming into a relegation battle.
“We were very close to bringing in two other signings this week. We missed out on that for reasons associated with their parent clubs. Negotiations on their compensation package for them leaving were delayed because of something to do with their exit clause. It’s a game of cat and mouse which meant we didn’t get what we wanted, as and when we wanted. That’s life in football. I think they’d have made a difference, if we’d got them, but we’re still close to getting them over the line.
“We’ll start again tomorrow on the job of trying to get players in. I’ll be up and down the motorway to see people because I’m excited about bringing new players to this football club. It isn’t wholesale changes but we need more to build on what we already have here.”
Speaking about the debut for on-loan Owls defender Matt Young, he said: “I think there’s more to come from Matt. He came in and slotted into the right back role really well. It’s very difficult for a young man to make his debut in those conditions but he integrated well into the squad.
“He has a fantastic pedigree and he’s been monitored for a while by Lee Dykes. It was a case of getting the timing right as to when we could get him here. He didn’t look out of place and that’s what you want from your first game.
“What I tried to do by not naming him was to protect a young man who was coming out on his first loan. I didn't want him to have the spotlight on him with interviews and opinion in the paper, and on message boards. I wanted him to come and slip into the team and look like he’d been a fixture in the team. I thought he did that well.”
And on the size of the task ahead, he said: “I know the fans will back us all the way and I know they’ve faced another disappointment. They’ve had a little bit of controversy that they are rightly disappointed with as well. They want us to win games and climb the table and I know they’ll stick with us.
“These players are fragile and you only start to feel better when things are going your way. You start to get that with your attention to detail, preparation and positive approach to everything you do.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day and Carlisle United won’t be saved from relegation in a short period of time. Certain things have gone on at the football club recently that tells you the foundations aren’t right.
“You find when you first arrive that people tidy themselves up. Give them a period of time and the real person surfaces. That’s what’s happened, but I’m now able to change things until the professionalism I want around me has come to bear.
“People don’t like change in football clubs but if you keep doing something, and you aren’t getting results, then you’ll continue on your downward spiral. Things need to change; it’s as simple as that.
“We’re going through a period where people won’t like the changes, but it’s for the better. I want an environment where people are able to express themselves and where they’re enjoying their profession. These changes aren’t radical. Asking somebody to be professional in their approach isn’t a radical change. It’s just how it should be.”
“The crowd will have dipped today because of the weather,” he concluded. “Negativity courts company. We know the other reason the supporters haven't come along today is because we haven't had the results we would have liked.
“Credit has to go to the fans that were here because I thought they were fantastic. I know there is a level of frustration and I accept that. I’m more frustrated than the supporters because I see talented players, but we’re below where we need to be and where we should be. I know if we start producing performances the supporters will be there for us.”