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MANAGER: Another day of learning

26 September 2015

Keith Curle with reaction to the Newport County AFC game

Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the disappointing home defeat against Newport County AFC on Saturday afternoon.

“I was pleased with the way we started the game,” he said. “They were doing exactly what we wanted them to do and we were on the front foot. 

“A massive minus for us was when Jabo [Ibehre] went off. We looked a bit toothless after that and it meant we didn’t have a focal point or a physical presence. You could see Alex Gilliead enjoyed working off him at the start of the game but then we stopped doing the things which caused them problems.

“We tried to be intricate with eye of the needle passes and we lost the momentum which you need if you’re going to be a good passing team. As the half went on we started to lump it up to Derek Asamoah and I don’t know why we would want to do that. 

“As Jabo walked off I looked around and I knew they were going to sit deep. We needed the attackers to be lively and bright because they did a similar job to the one we tried to do against Liverpool. As much as we said to the players that they needed to go wide and get round the back, they still tried to go through them with their passes. It simply didn’t come off.

“It’s been another day of learning but we’re going to stick to our principles and we’re going to earn the right to play football. We have to give Newport credit, but the focus has to be on us and what we need to do to play the game the way we want to play.”

“There was a huge effort from the players on Wednesday and that does sap your energy mentally and physically,” he told us. “That’s why we tried to freshen things up and I take full responsibility for the team selection. The opportunity was there for some, but it wasn’t quite grasped.

“You could ask if seven changes were too many but, in my opinion, it was an opportunity for other players to step up to the mark and show us what they’ve got. The players are disappointed, I’m disappointed and I know the fans are as well. It was done to add fresh faces and to help us to keep the momentum we’ve built up going. It was still a very strong team because I don’t think we have a weak squad.

“What we lacked was the application of the instructions after the first 15 minutes or so. The midfield area was slower and nowhere near as positive in its approach as it has been. Our wide players were sucked deeper and deeper because they didn’t get enough service. Ultimately we come away disappointed because the expectation had been raised by the achievement of Wednesday.” 

“We suffered a dip of performance before the Liverpool game and we’ve had the same again after it,” he told us. “That game has gone now and we have to make sure we build on the plus points we got out of it. Today is a learning day and we now know if things don’t go our way we can still do what we need to do to get something from it.

“Confidence has been dented today, we’ve had a slap in the face and a smack on the chin, and the next question we have to answer is how we react to that. We will get back in on Monday and make sure we know we need a committed performance on Tuesday night. We know what we’re about and we know what we’re trying to build.”

On the injury to Jabo Ibehre, he said: “Jabo felt a slight twinge in his hamstring. We’ll know more about the extent of it early next week. Hopefully it was caught early enough to mean that not too much damage has been done. 

“Charlie Wyke will be out for two or three weeks yet but we still have Steven Rigg, Derek Asamoah and Kevin Osei. Charlie is due to have another x-ray to see if there has been a union in the affected joint. 

“We also still have the option, if the right player becomes available, for us to bring in another addition. That’s something we are constantly looking at. I’ll speak to Lee Dykes and see what he has on the radar. 

“If I think they can be better than what we’ve got, and they will enhance the group, we’ll look at making it happen. What I won’t do is get off the bus. We are still on a learning curve and we have to make sure we adapt, when things aren’t going our way, to make sure we don’t get beat.”

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