Keith Curle on improvements and targets
Manager Keith Curle spoke more about the improvements in all areas which have taken the club to the edge of the play-off zone with 16 games under the belt.
“I’m determined that we’re a football club which is going to get better and better,” he said. “Last season was the starting point and it’s up to us to push it on.
“We either do that by developing the personnel we have now or by bringing in better players who will help us to move forward. I feel like I’m at a club at the moment which is in a good place. There’s a great working relationship with everybody, at all levels, because we’re all aiming to improve.”
“In terms of the dressing room, we know we’ve got wins and goals in us,” he continued. “We’re not getting broken down with the goals we’ve conceded so that’s something to be pleased with.
“All we need to do now is improve on the areas of our decision making which are causing us problems and get rid of the individual mistakes. We’ll do our work on the training ground to help with that but if individuals can’t do it themselves they’ll find that they get left behind.”
“Sometimes you can ask players to go and perform and sometimes you can cajole it out of them,” he explained. “On other occasions you have to forcefully tell them what you’re thinking and I can do all of that. It’s then over to them to give you a response.
“Against Wycombe I almost had to pin Troy [Archibald-Henville] up against the wall to tell him to start performing, or we were going to fall out. That brought us a reaction where he went out and scored us a goal. That’s the kind of thing you want to see.
“I certainly had plenty to say to everybody at half time on Saturday because we know there are things we need to iron out. The pleasing thing is there’s a belief and honesty in the changing room and that’s why they are able to come from behind.
“We’re not happy when we give goals away and that’s something we’ll continue to work on, but we have people who will dig deep as and when required. Your career is based on how you deal with the low points and there’s a strength of character and mentality here which is taking us forward. That’s something else I like to see.”
On where he expects the team to compete this season, he said: “I like building teams and I like building football clubs. I’ve had it before where I’ve been able to take things to a certain level and then, for various reasons, I’ve parted company. What you find is those clubs fail in a short period of time afterwards.
“In my opinion we’re a top ten team. With a few more additions and improvements I think we could go on a run to be anywhere within that top ten. We’ve come a long way in a short time and the foundations aren’t set yet, but they’re definitely in place.
“That’s because the players are responding to what we’re doing. We’re aside which is going to flirt with the play-offs and that’s a massive change around from what I inherited.”
And on new arrivals Hallam Hope and Mark Ellis, he said: “I thought they both did very well. They gave good accounts of themselves and showed, at times, what they will bring to this club.
“Hallam was a great physical presence and he was tireless in his work. We woke Charlie Wyke up at half time, he was one who got a talking to, and those two looked good together.
“Mark does exactly what it says on the tin. He was vocal, an organiser and he tackled and headed it. He took a few too many chances for my liking, but we’ll get that out of him. He’s a ball player and we’ve seen another very good addition to the squad.
“I think it was nice for us all to see Macaulay [Gillesphey] get his first goal. He’s another young player who has been through a mental battering because he felt he hadn’t defended as well as he could in recent weeks. Initially he didn’t even want to go into the box when we got the set piece. We were screaming at him to get to the back stick and he was beaming when he put it away. Rightly so, because he played a massive part in us getting the three points.”
“With Jabo [Ibehre] and Angelo [Balanta], they both wanted to play,” he revealed. “I just didn’t feel it was right because I didn’t want to take the gamble. It was just too big a risk.
“We could actually say that we have two more weeks with Jabo because is it a necessity to play him in the cup? I think he’ll be involved in the squad but he now needs a mini-pre-season to make sure he’s up to scratch. If you get a half-baked Jabo, that’s when he falls out with managers, because he isn’t producing the levels he knows he can.
“Angelo is in the same situation. He had two days full training last week following a hamstring problem he’s been dealing with. I didn’t want to risk it with him because you just don’t want to rush players back. Mind you, if Jabo had been on the bench I think he’d have been on after 15 minutes because Charlie Wyke didn’t start well at all!
“Troy [Archibald-Henville] wasn’t involved because he had a slight irritation after the Wycombe game last weekend. I left him out as a precaution.
“We’ve got a good week of preparation ahead of the trip down to Plymouth on Saturday. That’s one we start preparing for from the moment we get back together.”
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.
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.