United boss Keith Curle ahead of the trip to face Bristol Rovers
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the Bristol Rovers game at his Thursday press conference.
“We’ve got ourselves into a routine with the way we prepare now and that is out of respect to the opposition,” he said. “We spend a lot of time on identifying strengths and weaknesses and we leave no stone unturned. If there are things which can give us an advantage then it’s up to us to do the work and make sure we find them.
“I know quite a bit about a lot of their players. Jermaine Easter is a real threat, Lee Brown [left back] is a hard worker and a good professional, and I had Lee Mansell with me at Torquay. He’s another of the same kind.
“We have a good understanding of their team attributes and how they like to play. They’ve tinkered with a few formations but they do seem to like 4-4-2. It wouldn’t surprise me if they go with that against us, even if it’s a bit narrower with one of the strikers dropping back a bit.
“They have good threats they can use against us but we don’t go into it with any fear. That’s the approach we want to instil at this club because we know we can beat anyone if our attitude and approach is right.”
“Bristol will give us a good test, there’s no doubt about that,” he commented. “They’ve maintained the impetus they got from their promotion last season and they’ll be pleased with their start. They have a good standing within the division and they’ve adapted well to this level.
“We've got a good opportunity to go and perform at Bristol Rovers. We won't ask any different of the players and it will be a case of giving a professional performance from us because that's all we want. We know they've got strengths and weaknesses we can try and exploit but ultimately we know we have to be right. If we perform, individually and collectively, we can be a match for anyone in this division.
“I think it will be a game that will be played out in three thirds. They will want to have a quick start so they get into the flow of it. That will help to get rid of any nerves or anxieties they have. They’ll want to keep the ball away from their goal through the first 30 minutes and they’ll want the crowd to be behind them.
“The middle part of the game will be when both teams have tried to get the important foothold in the game and they will have tried to implement their style of play. We’ll then get to the final 30 minutes and we’ll either be chasing the game or doing what we can to see it out.
“We want to replicate the Plymouth performance. We're trying to identify roles and responsibilities for individuals within the team framework. Consistent performers are the ones you want around you. If you can consistently say people are going to do their jobs within the team framework then that provides your platform for success.
“I have that at the moment and the pleasing thing is I have a lot of players who are knocking on my door. The players who played against Fleetwood on Wednesday knew it was an opportunity to impress. Whether it's an arranged 11v11 game or a training session, the players are taking that on board and the tempo of the game was exceptional from both teams. Our players know they need to perform and they know if they do that can have a knock on effect on the collective group.
“We're in a good place as a football club when you take into account where we’ve been for the last couple of years. If you find a fan in the street and ask them about the football club I'm sure the answer will be positive. They're coming, getting value for money and being entertained.
“They know they've got players, staff, management and owners at the football club trying to be successful. I think the supporters are appreciating the commitment and hard work.”
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