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MANAGER: Stuck to the game plan

18 March 2015

Keith Curle with reaction to the Northampton Town away win

United manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the excellent away victory at Northampton on Tuesday night.

“We came here with a game plan and we stuck to it,” he said. “We got that little bit of luck you need, at times, but we kept our belief and we got our rewards.

“The message at half time was to have even more belief. We didn’t retain possession of the ball anywhere near as well as we can in the first half. I see these lads in training and I know the ability they have.”

“We kept our shape well after the break and we were disciplined in the way we played. The important thing was it was a win for the whole squad. I’m sure eyes were raised at team selection, formation and tactics. 

“I’m sure people will have wondered if it was defensive, but I have a good understanding and belief in what is in the changing room. The right thing to do is to use it as and when I need it.”

“Courtney Meppen-Walter is injured so he missed out,” he explained. “It’s an abdominal injury and we’re waiting for the results of his scan. Once we have that we’ll know where we’re at with him. 

“If Troy [Archibald-Henville] had told us he was available we’d probably have picked him but, as we keep saying, we’re governed by him. I’m sure he’ll be ready for the weekend.”

“I could have gone with Steven Rigg and Charlie Wyke, because they’ve been playing well, but I think that would have suited their defenders,” he added. “I thought we could give them something to think about with the pace Derek Asamoah has, backed up by Brad Potts and his mobility.

“It was a role Brad hasn’t played before but it’s one I knew he could do because of the energy he brings to his game. We didn’t use the ball as well as we could have done for the first 45 minutes but it’s something I know we can work on again.”

On the manner of the result, he said: “I’ve never had any doubt about the fact I’ve had the complete support, not only of the changing room, but from all sides of the football club. What we have is a group of people who are trying to do the right things and if we keep that unity, from the supporters to the playing staff, we’ll be fine. We all want this football club to thrive and flourish and that’s what we’re determined to do.”

“I was pleased with our midfield tonight,” he added. “They worked hard and showed good balance and understanding. Paul Corry and Jason Kennedy were together for the first time and it was pleasing to see them start to gel. 

“Jason is one of the nicest professionals you could hope to meet. He’s not a shouter and screamer but he does what’s needed of him, on a daily basis as well as in the games.

“I was very pleased for Kyle Dempsey. He played well and his goal was a fantastic leap. It was a superb cross from David Amoo and people may not understand the physical strength you need, not only to get up that high, but also to hang in the air. His header then topped it off.

“Back in defence, I thought Sean O’Hanlon was outstanding. He put his head on everything and defended very well. I wasn’t happy with the full backs in the first half because they looked a little bit tentative, and I didn’t want their wide players to be getting the better of them. 

“Patrick Brough was given strict instructions to stop the ball from coming into the box at all costs after the break. I told him I didn’t care what he had to do to stop it, he just had to stop it. He did excellently with that.

“It was another clean sheet for us and they’re coming along for Dan [Hanford] because he’s doing what’s needed. He’s not looking for anything extra and he’s staying focused on the basics. He’s a very good keeper when he does that.”

“Another positive for us was the way we saw the game out,” he said. “The penny is starting to drop on the game management side of things and that will stand us in good stead. 

“The goals came because of the willingness to stick to the game plan we had. The players were only told about the formation on Monday and, at the same time as that, they were told about what to expect from the opposition. They took all of that in, did their jobs and got their win. Credit to them for that.

“This was a big result for all of us but the focus moves on to the next one now. We have to start looking right now at how we can get three points and do the double over Morecambe.”

And on the work done on Monday to add to the group, he said: “We were so close to making another signing. A lot of work goes in to trying to make things happen and we put in long days, at times, to try to add what we feel we need to the group. We missed out on one because he decided to go somewhere else. 

“We do have a few targets and we’ll keep doing the work until we can get better than what we’ve already got. That’s nothing against any of the lads, because they are all good players, but part of our job is to always look to improve.”

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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