Keith Curle with reaction to the game against Preston North End
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the Preston game shortly after full time on Tuesday evening.
“We’re getting to the point where we’re bedding in some of the foundations and there are a lot of positives to take from it,” he said. “There are a few things we need to iron out and others we’re going to do slightly differently.
“I think we have a very close group who want to impress and who want to play the game in the right way. I’ve told the players there are things we can all do slightly better but there should be no fear of mistakes, as long as we’re trying to do things properly.”
“Tonight was a little glimpse of how we want to play,” he added. “I want us to entertain and I want us to be forward thinking on the pitch. The crowd are going to have a massive part to play because if they want us to kick the ball up from the back, and fight to get it – and if we don’t, we don’t, we just try the same again and run around for ten minutes as we try to get it back – I just don’t want to play like that.
“I want to develop a brand of football we’re familiar with and we can enjoy watching. Teams will come here and try to stop us from playing, but that’s when we need to be brave enough to get on the ball. We saw a bit of that in this game.”
“Credit has to go to Preston for how they set about things and how they played the game,” he continued. “They had a number of players missing but you can see why they are where they are. They’re a good side and we wish them well for next season.
“Scoring four goals against a team two divisions higher is excellent for us. We had a good focus about our play and Jabo Ibehre showed us what he brings to the team. He’s a good focal point when we do need to go longer because we know the ball is going to stick. There’s still more to come from him and I think the fans are going to like him.
“We’d been working on the rotation in our play over the last week or so and we had players filling in holes, so it was good to watch. What we didn’t do at Bradford was turn our possession into final third entries. We had more of a forward thinking style tonight and we got the end product from it.”
“We will get bits of misunderstanding and risk taking in certain areas, at times, but we’re working on when we need to be a possession team and when that switches to a more forward thinking attitude on a daily basis,” he said. “Things like that don’t click immediately. As I say, as long as we’re trying to do the right things then I don’t mind seeing them make mistakes, as long as they’re learning from them.
“We’re testing the players all the time to see what they’re going to come up with because we don’t want anyone to take their foot off the gas. I want to be playing the game in the right way. Sometimes within a game you’ll see us change formation two or three times because we don’t want to be a one trick pony. We want to cause problems and the best way to do that is to be adaptable.”
On the red card shown to Alexander McQueen, he said: “There was a tackle at Bradford on Saturday which was a potential leg breaking challenge. The referee told the players it would have been a sending off if it had been a league game, but he didn’t do anything.
“We had an exuberant challenge tonight with a bouncing ball where both players have gone high. Alex didn’t go in with malice but he caught the other player on the foot just after he played the ball. Another referee would have told the players they can’t make those tackles, or would have had a word with me to tell me to take him off.
“If that was serious foul play then I think we’d have a number of challenges through pre-season games which would bring the same end result. It’s a learning curve for Alex. He’s going to be on a long and exciting journey and this is a harsh lesson for him. We assume he’s going to miss three games, because it is deemed as serious foul play, so that’s disappointing. It’s one I’ll have to have a look at but usually when you end up appealing you lose, and another game gets added. It could just be a lesson learned for him.”
And on the offers made to Kevin Osei and Joe Thompson, he said: “I’ve signed both Joe Thompson and Kevin Osei on short term contracts [note – Joe Thompson is yet to put pen to paper]. Offers of extensions are in there if they fulfil the potential they’ve shown me so far.
“They’ve integrated into the group very well and Joe showed a good understanding of the wing back position we asked him to play. Now he has that bit of confidence and security I think he can really start to embed himself in the group.
“Kevin is a really versatile player and, similar to Derek Asamoah, if he gets away from you then you aren’t catching him. We’ve got options with these lads because there are occasions when we will look for Jabo up front and have one of the others working off him.
“With Nicky Walker, he had a trial at Bradford and I think they’ve said they have similar players with the same ability levels. They felt if they took him it would hamper the progression of some of the younger players in their squad.
“That gave us an opportunity to have another look at him because he can use both feet and he has an eye for goal. He has a rawness about him I like and potentially he could be a minor project. I know the lad needs to earn money so I’ll have made a decision on him before we go into the season.”
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