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MANAGER: The dressing room grew up

17 January 2015

Keith Curle with Wimbledon match reaction

Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the impressive away victory at Wimbledon this weekend.

“This is a difficult place to come to but the pleasing thing is the way the players reacted to what they were asked to do,” he said. “We knew we had to stay in the game and cause them problems ... then within 90 seconds we’ve conceded a goal, and we looked a little bit shaken by it. 

“It gave a couple of players a kick up the backside and we got a fantastic response from them. We got to half time at 1-1 and it could have been even better if the shot from Danny Grainger had slid in.”

“I always felt we could cause problems if we could keep the back door shut,” he added. “I had some concerns because of the amount of balls they put into our box during the first half. We changed the formation because of that. 

“We started with a 4-2-3-1, with Anthony Griffith beside Courtney Meppen-Walter, but we felt we wanted to see Anthony more advanced. That’s when we went to 4-1-4-1 and we started to match their middle four, with Courtney able to sweep across the front of our back four.

“Tactically we were more competitive, but we had to put the reins on Kyle Dempsey because he was getting too advanced too early. That’s what his game is about, so you accept that, and he showed fantastic energy in the closing stages.”

“We finished the game on the front foot as a team,” he said. “We had energy, passion and determination and we were running away from them at the end of the game. We’re going to need that tempo, belief and desire in what we do as we go on from here because it’s going to be tough.”

“I think the changing room grew up today,” he commented. “They needed a manly performance and they gave us it. The fans responded and a thing I really liked about today is they were all behind our dugout. 

“We were a goal behind after two minutes but there was a real feeling they were still with us. They stayed with me, and with their players, and they were excellent. There were no comments or snipes and that’s important. Someone told me during the game last weekend that I’d lost the changing room. Let me tell you, I’m well aware of where the dressing room is and of what’s in there.

“We’re building and, as I keep saying, it’s work in progress. Today is an example of how we are taking steps forward. Conceding early, along with what has happened during the last few weeks, could have affected everyone, but they didn’t allow it to. They battled back and they deserved their win in the end.”

“Another good thing is I am now in a position to give the players Monday off,” he explained. “This is now a situation where they can go out and have a shandy because it’s the right time for that. They can enjoy it, but they then have to get their heads switched on for the hard work to come.”

On the solid debut display from Anthony Griffith, he said: “We were delighted with Anthony. He was a real man for us. People who know him will tell you he isn’t always pleasing on the eye. However, he’s one you want in your team.

“He knows where to be, what to do and how to do it. He also knows where other people should be and he can help by telling them. He’s an infectious character and he will go toe to toe with people if he needs to. He’s one who lets them know if they aren’t doing what’s best for the team.”

“There are obviously a lot of positives to take from this,” he agreed. “This is a very good Wimbledon side who have just added more quality to their ranks. We’ve played really well against them, but we know we still have more to do. 

“A big thing which will help us is we know the players are committed. They needed this type of performance for themselves and for everyone connected with the club. It was a day when they grew up.”

“The defensive triangle of Meppen-Walter, Archibald-Henville and O’Hanlon was always going to be important because of the focus on Akinfenwa,” he said. “They coped with it and they played their part. 

“A win like this gives us another building block and a step in the right direction. Getting a performance like this, after going behind so early, is what makes players grow up. They stood up to the challenge mentally and, again, that has to be pleasing.”

On the 521 United fans who made the journey, he said: “I’m well aware you don’t just get up on a Saturday morning and decide to watch Carlisle play. There is a lot of commitment, passion, desire and organisation, and not only from themselves but from their friends and families. There’ll be some happy phone calls because I know our fans want us to do well. 

“I’m sure they enjoyed themselves and I can tell them I’m working hard on more new signings. I’m working with John Nixon, the chairman and the other stakeholders at the club to make things happen. Like I say, I know what we need and we’re doing everything we can to make the additions we want.

“I’ve missed out on a few targets, and not because of finances, but because of decisions the players have made on the level they want to play at, or where in the country they want to play. I’ll keep selling my vision as we continue to create this positive new environment where everyone can come to work and enjoy the job they do.”

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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