Keith Curle with reaction to the Barnet victory
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the 3-2 victory over Barnet shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.
“You have to give Barnet credit for how they approached the game,” he said. “They knew they were going to have problems if they let us get into any kind of rhythm.
“I must admit, it took me back about 25 years to when I played for Wimbledon. I appreciate and understand the weapon they’ve got and I know how unsettling it can be for the opposition. I played at Wimbledon for three years and that’s all we did.
“We were confrontational and aggressive, in the right areas, and we put the ball in the box at every opportunity. It was a bit of déjà vu to see that happening to us in this game and at times I wouldn’t have minded being out there myself and involved in playing that style of play.
“It can become predictable but you’ve still got to deal with it. This was a League Two game and they’re going to cause teams a lot of problems if they’re not able to withstand it. They unnerved us because of the physical presence and the quality of their deliveries into the box was excellent. That resulted in them getting the goals in the first half and it became a big test for us.”
“I was glad to be able to get the players in at half time because we were able to talk about a few things,” he added. “We’d had a little bit of luck go our way and, let’s be honest, we needed it. When the ball is bouncing around inside your box you need it to go for you.
“We made some good blocks along the way and it’s enjoyable to come out with a victory against that style of play. What it does is confirm that we are a still very much work in progress. We’re still learning and you can get frustrated when you can’t play the game your way, so we showed a bit of naivety at times.
“When they were pressing forward to try and put pressure on us they were leaving acres of space behind. All it called for was to put the ball into those areas, but we didn’t pick the moments to do that anywhere near enough.”
“Barnet weren’t trying to be intricate in their play,” he told us. “You could hear Martin [Allen] shouting at them from the sidelines to turn us and get the ball in the box. They responded and, again, you have to give them credit because they imposed themselves and their style of play.
“It was frustrating because we got our two goal lead and then the lads looked as if they were a little bit shocked and as if they were wondering what to do next. That’s all part of the learning curve we’re on.
“It was disappointing to concede the goals in the way we did because you have to learn to deal with a ball in the air. Sometimes you can think too much when, at the end of the day, the ball is coming into the box. Just calm yourself down and defend it.
“I think we did get edgy in the first half because of their physical presence but we showed more resilience after the break. It’s a game we wouldn’t have got three points from last season, I will say that.”
“The home league win is another box ticked,” he said. “We’re trying to accumulate as many points as we possibly can as we’re still learning about ourselves. This game was a big test and the players stood up to it.
“I am disappointed that we didn’t settle into our style of play but they stopped us from doing that, we have to hold our hands up and admit that. Teams will come up here and try to do the same thing to us so we have to be brave enough to counter it.
“We also have to be brave enough to make our mistakes. We’re in League Two and players are going to make honest mistakes. The crowd were upset when Michael Raynes had his pocket picked on the edge of our box, and I have to admit to not having a clue what was going through his mind, by the way!
“These things happen and we accept that. I am very demanding of the group and what I will say is that I won’t want to see that happen again. You’ve got to understand these players are giving everything they’ve got and they will get tested by the opposition on occasions. What we’re trying to instil is that when we come under pressure we don’t go making rash decisions. If everyone knows their roles and responsibilities the errors will start to shift out of our game.”
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