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MANAGER: I'm here to win football matches

7 November 2015

Keith Curle on the FA Cup victory over Plymouth

We spoke to manager Keith Curle after the FA Cup first round victory over Plymouth Argyle on Saturday. 

“I don’t think you can go into any game thinking you’ll get a comfortable outcome, but it is what you hope for,” he said. “We showed Plymouth a lot of respect, as we do with every team, because they are a team of good players. 

“It was Plymouth at full strength but the pleasing thing is we caused them a lot of problems. We knew we could do that because we’ve already done it once down here this season, without the result going our way. 

“I thought we looked solid and professional and we showed good game management. We set our stall out early by making sure they knew we weren’t going to invite pressure. We showed them we were going to create pressure and go for the win.

“I have to say a massive credit for our supporters who travelled down today. The performance they got was worthy of the journey down here this time round. That’s pleasing because we let them down in the second half last time we were here. Hopefully they’ll be smiling all the way home tonight.”

“I’ve told the players that this performance sets individual and collective benchmarks for what we want to be like at home and away this season,” he continued. “We were solid and resilient but we also had an attacking threat with the freedom to express ourselves. 

“That comes from working very hard on the training ground and by getting an understanding of what it is we all need to be doing with and without the ball. It’s all starting to come together for us. There is more to come from the players we've got, and from those still to come in and join us. We are demanding to be better.

“A thank you has to go to the football club for the way they allow us to prepare for these games. Before the players go onto the pitch the preparation has to be right. We travelled early yesterday [Friday] and stayed in close proximity in a good hotel. These things all take time to organise and it involves a lot of effort. 

“Once it’s all in place the players still have to apply themselves correctly. We broke the journey up and trained at Bristol City's training ground. Another thank you has to go to them for allowing us to use that facility because it was a fantastic surface. The players jumped off the bus after five hours and the training session was extremely competitive. 

“It shows that it’s worth it because I had Plymouth fans on the way up to the press box telling me that our win was well deserved. That tells me they appreciate the fact that we came here to do a job and we did it well.

“We’ll take a lot of confidence from a performance like that. It’s a clean sheet against the league leaders and it’s a thoroughly deserved win to go with it. We wanted to use Derek’s pace as much as possible because their defenders don’t like that. We worked on it through last week because I don’t think we use that outlet as much as we should during games. 

“Get him onto the grass behind teams and he’ll cause them problems. We set the team task of turning Plymouth round because they’ve been very solid. Today we made them look fragile.”

On a first goal for the club for Hallam Hope and the race to get him registered to play, he said: “The keeper made a great save from Derek Asamoah for the second goal, but it spun out and Hallam was there to finish it. That was good anticipation from him and we were all delighted when he tucked it away.

“The initial agreement with Bury was that he wasn’t available for the FA Cup. We’ve had more conversations with them and credit has to go to the football club for the way they’ve handled that. Our secretary [Sarah McKnight] worked hard to get it over the line at the eleventh hour and it was nail biting stuff in the end. It came through before the registration window shut and he’s got his reward for the work other people did on his behalf in this game.

“We played him on the left hand side today but I think he can develop and play as a lone striker. He has that level of versatility and good strength about him. He’s an example of the way we want to recruit because we want players who can adapt and do a number of jobs well. He’s one where we are hopeful of extending his loan spell and I’m sure more discussions will follow on that.”

On the FA Cup second round draw, which takes place on Monday evening, he told us: “We'll take on anyone in the next round. I don’t mind who we get or where we play them. We can compete with anybody who is in the hat at the moment.

“The FA Cup brings me back to Cassius Camps, which we went to during pre-season. We climbed hills, and once we'd climbed one there was another hill to face. 

“We went on the camp so the players knew that when they thought they'd done enough and couldn't go any further, they can. We showed that at Liverpool and we know there’s a competitive edge in that changing room and we’ll take on any challenge. Whether it's a non-league team or a team from a higher division, we'll show them respect but we won't fear them.”

We’ll have more from the manager on the injury situation and some of his selection headaches on the official website on Monday morning.

United PlayerHD subscribers can see an interview with Keith Curle now. Click HERE to go to the PlayerHD platform. Follow the same link for more information on United PlayerHD, 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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