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MANAGER: The foundations are in place

25 June 2015

Manager Keith Curle on new arrivals and work still to do

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us this morning about new arrivals Simon Tracey and Bastien Hery, and about the work done in the transfer market over the summer period.

“I played in front of Simon in our playing days and he was very good at giving instructions,” he said. “He didn’t want anybody to have shots against him, or be allowed to cross the ball, and he wasn’t a keeper who encouraged pass backs. Basically he wanted an easy afternoon!

“Having said that, you know as a defender that if your keeper has had an easy afternoon that it’s because you’ve done your job. ‘No pass backs-no shots-no crosses’ was his trademark shout, and we got used to trying to do that for him.”

“He’s a man who has good attention to detail and our young keepers will enjoy working with him,” he continued. “He’s very demanding and he’s as much a perfectionist as a coach as he was as a player. He’s very self-critical and analytical and he will say it exactly how it is.

“If he thinks you’re wrong, he’ll tell you, but he will also explain why he’s said it and he will then tell you what he thinks you can do to improve. The flip side to that is he is very, very quick to praise and tell you when you’ve done something right.

“From a coaching point of view he has a talent for identifying and working on strengths and weaknesses. He has a knack of creating a working environment which is conducive to goalkeeping, because they do have needs of their own. It isn’t an easy position to play, and that 18-yard box can be a lonely place if things aren’t going well. 

“He will make sure his keepers have an air of confidence about them and the football will seem like a beach ball to them once they get to know and trust him, which will happen quickly. That’s good because we all know that if your keepers are confident they will do their jobs well.” 

“There were other options for him to consider, simply because he’s well known and he has a lot of knowledge and experience under his belt,” he confirmed. “I worked with him at Mansfield and I like the way he coaches. He has a good all-round understanding of football and he made a name for himself in the game at the highest levels. 

“Our paths first crossed when he was at Sheffield United, but I do like to remind him about his loan spell at Manchester City, which kicked off with a horrible five-goal defeat at the hands of Man United. That was a real welcome to the City of Manchester and I’m sure it’s something he still struggles to remember, because he was so shell-shocked about it at the time.”

On midfielder Bastien Hery, he said: “He is an exciting player. I think people will have seen the signings up to now as players who will come in and do an important job for us, without getting bums off seats because of something they’ve done. Bastien is a player who will get people on their feet a lot.

“We worked on the signings in the way we did simply because when a team is consistently conceding 60 or 70 goals, season after season, then it suggests there have been problems at the back. 

“Any successful team will have been built on a solid defence. We feel we’ve put the foundations in place for that and, with us being happy with our defensive options, we’re now able to move on to the forward areas of the pitch. 

“There are goals in the team already, but I know we still need a few more. We can add to what we have by creating a supply line, and Bastien will do that for us. He’ll have work to do in attack and defence but, going forward, he can move the ball and he is what I would describe as a dynamic player. 

“He gets about the pitch with or without the ball and he can link play up just by seeing a pass quickly. He’s a very intelligent player and I think we will all enjoy watching him.”

And on the work done on signings so far, he said: “We’re happy with what we’ve done through the summer. The announcements are where the fans get to see the end result of the hard work the staff at the club have put in. We’ve spoken to a lot of people, players and representatives and a lot of miles have been covered. It’s always nice to round that off with a few players actually coming through the door.

“There are talks ongoing with potential signings because this squad isn’t the finished article by any means. There are still areas we want to look at and work on but everything, from today onwards, is about looking forward. 

“I’m not going to hark back to last season on too many occasions because it’s about progression and moving on. That starts from the first get together on Thursday morning and will be part of everything we do as we go through July and into the game against Mansfield.”

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