Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about tonight’s Capital One Cup fixture against Liverpool at Anfield.
“Looking back at the QPR game we did see some nerves in the dressing room,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. Some of my best performances came when I was nervous because you tighten up and your mental focus is there.
“It’s a fantastic arena to play in and they have excellent support and a great manager. We genuinely believe we’re going to go there and put in a good performance and we do have a chance to progress in this competition. After all, if you don’t believe, you don’t get.
“If we did manage to pull it off it would be up there with my best achievements as a manager. We’ve all got dreams and aspirations and I want to test myself as much as anyone else. I want to set teams out to play against the best in the world week in, week out. I’m here at Carlisle United because I want to be progressive in everything I do. I don’t want to be a second division manager for the rest of my football career.
“My ambition doesn’t lie with one game a year against a Premier League team. I want to manage at that level. That is my aim and aspiration. How I get there is going to be a journey, and it’s a journey which has already taken in Mansfield, Torquay, QPR, Crystal Palace, Notts County and Carlisle. The next question is how far can I go with Carlisle United?
“If you look at Bournemouth, they were fighting for their lives to stay in Division Two six years ago. They’re playing in the Premier League now. Can we go on that journey? There’s no reason why not. The people who were with Bournemouth six years ago stayed loyal and look at the reward they’re getting for that now.
“I’m the same as anyone. I want to ply my trade at the highest possible level. Ideally, with the scenario as it is now, that will be with Carlisle. That’s my ambition and there is nothing wrong with anyone saying that. I don’t want people coming into work being happy with their lot, because I’m not happy in the second division. I don’t want anyone else to be happy with that either. We have to aim to get as high as we possibly can.”
On Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, he said: “I’ve met Brendan a couple of times and he’s a proper gentleman. He’s a student of the game and he’s very welcoming. I met him in Spain in the summer and he has time for everybody. He doesn’t put himself on a pedestal and he’s aware of his role and responsibility as an ambassador for Liverpool Football Club.
“Every professional manager goes out to win games of football. Brendan will be no different with this one. His mindset will be that he wants to beat us. How they do that is immaterial. None of us have a crystal ball and he won’t know how the game is going to pan out. A poor refereeing decision, crucial players being injured or unwell, and players making wrong decisions can all play a part. If we go there and give a committed performance then we know, if luck is with us, we can also get a positive result.”
“We’ll go there united as a football club and when we come away from there we will still have that unity,” he told us. “I think the group manages itself. There’s camaraderie and unity which is growing and they know what’s expected of them. They had a massive challenge against QPR and they came through it, so there’s no reason why they can’t do that again.
“I’ve had some fantastic games there. I went there with Wimbledon and got 40,000 people booing like mad because we spoiled the game. We didn’t care because we got results. It wasn’t pretty or attractive and we’ll be looking to our lads to do what they can to disrupt what is a very good team.”
And his message to the fans on what will be a memorable occasion for all concerned.
“Come together, leave together,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. We’ve got to go united and leave united whatever happens. The players will give everything they’ve got and I’m sure the fans will as well. It’s a night to enjoy and I’m sure we’ll come away with smiles on our faces and with the focus we need to head towards an important fixture against Newport on Saturday.”