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MANAGER: We have to deal with it

2 March 2015

Keith Curle on getting out of a tough situation

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about a busy Monday of preparation ahead of the visit of Cheltenham Town on Tuesday night.

“We had a team meeting and it was a very honest get together,” he explained. “That doesn’t mean it was finger pointing or tongue lashing. Sometimes people have got to understand that we do make errors, and this division is defined by the team which makes the least errors on a consistent basis sitting at the top. 

“We’re trying to iron our mistakes out, and that can be done on the training ground or by sitting down and talking about it. We have to do what we can to get results, so we’re going to simplify everything. We’re going to make the simple things work for us.

“Football is a very simple game and people do say it’s complicated by coaches and managers. Sometimes it’s complicated by the supporters and by the media, believe it or not. The media do have an opinion and they can help to get a positive message across.”

“Things aren’t going our way at the moment so we all have to work hard to make it right,” he added. “If we can stick together we will be much the better for it. We’re in the position we’re in because players make mistakes. What we have to start doing is making sure we make fewer mistakes than the opposition do, and capitalise when they make theirs.”

“It isn’t nice being in the bottom two, but we’re there for a reason and we have to deal with it,” he insisted. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going. It’s time for us to do that.

“The honesty in that group of players has never been in question. They’re a bit fragile at times, and sometimes naïve, but their desire and application is there in abundance. They’re learning the hard way but they will be better players because of the situation they’re going through now. It isn’t nice, but you have to handle it. 

“If you’re a supporter and the person stood next to you at the game tomorrow starts booing or criticising, stop him. Cheer louder than he is. The players going out there for us need the support of everyone attached to this football club. This is where we see what we’re all made of and, if we all pull in the same direction, we’re going to give ourselves a good chance of putting things right.”

On the search for loan signings, he said: “We’ve obviously been looking at adding to the group. We’ve been looking at the availability of a number of players, but it won’t happen in time for tomorrow. We’re close with it, but there’s a little bit of work left to do. 

“We’ve narrowed it down to two targets. One is a central midfield player and I spoke to his manager on Sunday about bringing him here. The chairman spoke to his club’s representatives and it’s now just a case of sorting out the loose ends and making the right selection.”

“Some of the players we’re looking at are at League One clubs and they’ve only been getting little bits and pieces of game time,” he told us. “Ideally you’re looking at somebody who is at a club where they don’t need the finances to bring someone else in. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out like that and you have to work a little bit harder to make things happen.”

“Brad Potts and Danny Kearns will both miss out on Tuesday,” he confirmed. “They have minor strains and they are doubtful for the weekend as well. Sean O’Hanlon had a couple of stitches but he’ll be fine, which is good news. 

“There are a lot of characteristics about Sean, as an individual, that I like. His approach to training and matches is excellent. He enjoys a challenge and he does the horrible side of the game very well. 

“Antony Sweeney is another, like Sean, who was put on the transfer list, but I don’t think that has affected either of them. We had an enquiry about Antony three or four weeks ago, but the club and the player turned that down because of how well he has been doing. 

“He’s been getting what he wanted, and that’s game time. I think all of the players who are coming to the end of their contract know that theoretically they are all on the transfer list. They will all be working hard to get a contract, if not here then elsewhere.

“Josh Gillies is another player who was involved at the weekend and who has had a testing time. He’s been challenged and the pleasing thing is he’s rising to it, even though it’s taken a while. I don’t have a problem with him ability wise, but he needed to show a little bit more aggression in his demeanour. 

“He can handle a football but he needed to be a little bit more demanding of himself and of the impact he can have on a game. If you’re a flair player who is running round all the time without the ball, then you’re just an athlete. We asked for more and he’s starting to give it.”

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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