Keith Curle with Hartlepool match reaction
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the 3-3 draw with Hartlepool shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.
“There are a lot of positives to take from the game,” he said. “The first half was very pleasing, even though I didn’t think we started very well. Once we got into our stride we looked a constant threat and we had good shape and discipline.
“We still needed to move it quicker and I thought our final pass, at times, was a little bit loose. Having said that, we had good momentum and a good number of people arriving in the box to help us to create goal scoring opportunities.”
“We got the goals to go with that during those first 45 minutes,” he commented. “We had some good chances in the second half as well, but we didn’t put them away. Whatever game it is - end of season or a cup final, or whatever - if you don’t take chances the likelihood is you’ll end up getting punished. That’s exactly what happened today.
“There is an air of disappointment that we let it go, from being in such a commanding position, and the lesson is that there are fundamental things you have to do, however much you think you’ve got the game sewn up. To enjoy the game fully you have to do the right things at the right time for the full 90 minutes. Switch off for just a few seconds and it can blow up on you.
“I suppose the pleasing thing come the full time whistle, and with the way it had gone, was that we didn’t get beat. There was an element of that happening to us when I first walked into the building, so it’s good that we’ve managed to get away from that.”
“There are certain things within the fabric of the changing room where it doesn’t surprise me, from being 3-0 up, that it ended up at 3-3,” he told us. “That’s disappointing, but some young lads have had a chance, and others who haven’t played as much as they would have liked have also had pitch time.
“I know what’s in the dressing room and sometimes you need to give some of your younger players and your fringe players the opportunity to go out there and play. You need to see if they can handle it, or if the frailties within their game will get exposed. The only place to find that out is on the pitch, where it counts.
“I couldn’t wait to get the young lads out on the pitch because I think it’s fantastic for them to have that kind of experience. The build up will have been nerve wracking for them but they coped adequately. If I’d had an opportunity to get Matty Douglas on, I’d have taken it, because it’s fantastic for them to go through things like this as part of their development.
“We gave Carl Taylor half an hour and the other youth team players will look at that and see the door is open. They’ll see there’s a pathway to the first team and to playing for Carlisle United. Some of our established lads are only two or three years older than our current youth team lads, and that will put a spring in their step and give them something to aim for.”
On the size of the crowd, he said: “I thought the atmosphere was fantastic. We showed again that if you give the home support something to shout about they’ll respond. They showed some disappointment at the end of the game because it’s one they wanted us to win.
“People have told me over and over that if we can get something started here there’ll be no stopping it. What we have to remember is that the remit I was given when I came into this club was to retain league status. It didn’t matter how that was achieved and it has been a case of doing what needed to be done.
“That was page one. Page two is going to be exciting for us. It hasn’t got the word change written in it anywhere, but it does say things need to be different. There will be different personnel and a different attitude. There are some things I like, so they will stay the same, but we’ll take a different approach to other things to get to where we want to be.”
“We’re now into a decision making process with contracts on Monday and one thing the players can’t say is that they haven’t been given the opportunity,” he explained. “This is a very difficult period when you’re dealing with telling players they might not be part of your plans, and it’s not something I take lightly or relish doing.
“However, it’s a process that needs to be done and it’s one where I sit and give the players my honest appraisal of where I think they’re at. I also give them the opportunity to give me their opinion, and what I try to do is make sure the players leave my office either with a pat on the back or, if a decision has been made the other way, I tell them to go out and prove me wrong.
“It happened to me and I went on to have a good career. I used it as a motivation because in some situations it’s not about how you handle the highs, it’s about how you deal with the disappointment.
“They will be left in no doubt whatsoever where their future lies. If they’re contracted to us and they’re told they aren’t going to be getting the game time they want, then the professional thing for them to do is to seek to ply their trade somewhere else.
“They’re an honest group and I can guarantee you they all want to play football. If they can find a club to take over or contribute to their contract, then that’s something we would want to look at. The loan players we’ve had here have contributed very well to what we’ve needed to do so they’ll be part of the conversations we have as well.
“The outcome of all of that will be released once it’s been completed.”
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