Keith Curle with reaction to the away draw at Wycombe
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the away draw at Wycombe on Saturday evening.
“There are some massive positives to come out of that game for us,” he said. “We’ve competed and kept them out of the dangerous areas, and I thought we were good for the lead we had.
“I couldn’t wait to get the lads into the dressing room at half time because I knew we needed to reshuffle and refocus. Within the game plan we had scope to go back to a back four, if we needed to, because we knew they would go a bit more direct.
“I’ll be honest, we weren’t happy with how we started the game. I thought Troy [Archibald-Henville] was a bit slow coming out of the blocks and I asked for a reaction from him during the break.
“We got that from him because his second half was more of what you would expect from a player of his quality. The goal probably helped to give him a bit more belief in himself and in what he can do as well.”
“As I say, we shuffled our pack after the red card and we asked our players to be strong,” he told us. “I thought they gave us that and we defended well. Part of the team talk ahead of kick off was to make sure we did what we needed to do to make their play become predictable. We managed to achieve that.
“The manner of the equaliser is probably the most disappointing aspect of the day. They couldn’t break us down and it had to come from something like that. In the end their goal came from miscommunication and a mix-up from a hopeful lob back into the box. Credit to Wycombe because they kept going and a bit of luck has gone their way.
“The dressing room is absolutely gutted because the players know they didn’t let us down. An error or a misjudgement has caught us out when it looked like we had the job done. I have no complaints because I ask players to make decisions. Today we ended up with a flamboyant central midfield player on our goal line trying to make a clearance.
“He saw the keeper and thought he was going to get there, so I accept that. We’re all in it together so we win, lose and draw together. Overall we’re still very happy because we’ve come away with a good point.”
On the first half red card shown to Luke Joyce, he said: “Decisions change games and to me it looked a fantastic tackle. It was a committed, strong challenge and, if anything, their lad knew Luke Joyce had momentum so he competed, but he wasn’t as whole-hearted as Luke when they came together. There was no danger to the opponent at any point.
“The fourth official said it was excessive force, but a good tackle is a good tackle. If you show more force than the other person in that situation then it’s because you’ve shown more desire to win the ball. I saw the referee motioning that two feet were off the ground, but they weren’t. I saw it as just being a very good tackle.
“The players started to get irate because the referee was asking his assistant if he was doing it or not. That tells me he didn’t see anything and that it’s the linesman who has made the decision. I’ll have a look at it again and if I’m wrong, and I think there is good reason for a red card, I’ll hold my hands up and say so. As I sit here now I don’t think I’ll be doing that.
“I’ll have to look at the DVD and see what we see. My first impression was that it was a really good tackle. Something I demand from my players is that level of commitment. I don’t think either player got hurt in the challenge and it has been misinterpreted by the officials. We’ll look at it and we’ll see whether or not it was a tackle which warranted a red card.”
“As I say, overall we have a lot to be happy with,” he concluded. “We knew we were coming to a place where they like action and they like to get the ball forward. That’s the way they play and it’s excellent, and it’s something we had to deal with.
“We were down to ten men for 70 minutes and I don’t think they caused us many problems. I thought we defended well and we were very competitive. We have a week without a midweek game now and we have some good time ahead of us on the training pitch.
“We’ll work on more areas to build up our understanding because the building blocks to what we want to achieve are slowly falling into place. We have flexibility but we’re always looking to add more bodies.
“We nearly had another one in on Friday but things didn’t quite pan out for us. We had good communication with the player and the football club but we couldn’t get the timings right to suit all parties.
“Work will carry on because we’re nowhere near the finished article. We’ve just started the process as far as I’m concerned and, if we find a player we think can help us, we’ll do what we can to bring him in.”
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