Keith Curle with reaction to the Exeter City game
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the Exeter City home defeat on Saturday evening.
“It’s a strange one for us all because we don’t feel we deserved the defeat,” he said. “I’m disappointed with the goals because there was nothing in the game, and then they got their first one. It was a good reaction from us to that, though, and we showed good character.
“We looked a threat in the first half by going down the right hand side and getting it to David Amoo. When he had the ball it gave us the feeling something was going to happen. I don’t think they had a great deal of shots in the first half and our goal came from the avenue we had been using well.
“It was a good finish and the one thing Riggy hasn’t had in recent weeks is what he deserved, and that was a goal. It was a fantastic performance from himself, with good combination between the front two, but we needed width as a team to help to get them both more chances. He showed great technique for the finish, because there was plenty for him to do and, like I say, it was a very good goal.”
“I think Exeter wanted half time to come more than we did,” he told us. “Even after the break I didn’t feel like we were camped in, or under pressure. We needed to get the goal and, if that had happened, we’d have been the ones going on to win it.
“As it was, they got the second goal and it was far too easy from our point of view. It was a ball into the full back, played on to their centre forward, and he took a touch and moved it on at his leisure. Somebody then casually strolled up and side footed it into the bottom corner. That all seemed very soft to me.”
“I take full responsibility for the third goal,” he said. “We were trying to get something out of the game and we’d gone a little bit gung ho. With ten minutes left to go I thought we were going to get something out of it. If we’d walked in at 2-2 I don’t think too many people would have grumbled, and I think we would actually still have felt slightly aggrieved at not getting the win.
“At the moment we’re being punished for every little mistake or poor decision. There’s a storyline within the result that we can take away but, ultimately, we’ve lost a game of football we wanted to win.”
“The first goal came from a situation not being blocked at source,” he explained. “Matt Young is a player who is learning his trade on the coal face and sometimes you find out what people are made of, and what sort of career they’re going to have, in situations like this.
“If you can’t handle playing for Carlisle against Exeter then you aren’t going to hit the heights your ability tells you that you could have. You can feel very alone and isolated when things aren’t going quite right for you. It’s a learning curve for him and first and foremost he has to know that you have got to do your job.
“He probably didn’t do that for the first goal because he didn’t get out there early enough to stop the cross. I’m confident he’ll learn his lessons quickly because that’s what it’s all about and he has shown us that he is a very good player.
“Bringing Danny Grainger in over Patrick Brough was a very close call. That’s credit to Patrick for making the decision a difficult one. If they played with an out and out winger, who had pace, then he might have got the nod. As it was the experience of Danny, along with the aggression and balance he brings, was what I felt we needed. Exeter like to pull you round so I wanted a natural defender in there to help us to keep our shape.”
“Exeter are a good side and they try to play football in the right way,” he added. “They have players who can handle the ball in good areas and they have a style about their play. However, it wasn’t threatening or penetrating us and I felt comfortable that we were dealing with what they had.
“That easy second goal gave them something to hang on to, and the most disappointing thing was the threat we had with David Amoo in the first half disappeared. We just didn’t give him the ball enough in the second half. I’m struggling to remember one cross he actually put in after the break and that’s because we decided not to keep attacking the weakness we’d identified.
“That’s happened on a couple of occasions and I don’t know if it’s because we can coach the ball over to him when he’s on our side of the pitch. We seem to lose the urgency to get the ball to him when he’s over on the other side. I think he did well and it was potentially going to be a challenging day for McAllister, in the second half, if we’d carried on using that outlet.”
“The manner of the first two goals is what has been costing us this season,” he said. “Now is the time to stand up and not hide away. If you’re a full back and the ball lands on your side, you deal with it. Sometimes it’s a case that you have to stop the ball from going out to your man. That means you’re dealing with it at source.
“Defending your inside and outside shoulder is something we work on, and it’s something we can iron out. The goals we’ve conceded are too easy. If someone bends a great strike into the top corner then you can hold your hand up and say it’s a good goal. We aren’t able to say that about the goals we’re conceding at the moment.”
“We’ve lost this game and we have got to take it on the chin,” he insisted. “We’ve been beaten by a good footballing team, but we nullified the majority of their impetus and forward play. We lacked the killer edge and as soon as you lose the quality in your play to go and cause them a problem you’re always going to be open to letting them play the way they want to play.
“We were probably afforded more time on the ball today than we had on Tuesday, because of the nature of the team we were up against. What we didn’t do was exploit the wide areas and it ended up costing us.”
“The players are disappointed in that dressing room,” he said. “There’s a level of frustration because they know we’ve gifted points away. It wasn’t as if they were faced with fantastic intricate play or a moment of brilliance.
“The decision making let us down and players with time on the ball can hurt you, even at this level. The fans stayed behind to clap the players off and I know they’re frustrated. Let me tell you, so am I.”
On the early substitution of Antony Sweeney, he said: “He was one of the players we’ve had to nurture through from the efforts on Tuesday night. He had a dead leg, but we managed to get it going, and it was just unfortunate that he took another slight knock on it.
“It started to seize up, but when one door closes it gives an opportunity for someone else. Josh Gillies was able to get on and get some good minutes under his belt.”
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