Keith Curle with reaction to the Dagenham victory
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the victory over Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday afternoon.
“The players enjoyed the victory but they’ve left the ground with the message that I think we can do better than what we saw in the first half,” he said. “Winning ugly isn’t something usually associated with this club. Today was an example of doing what was needed in a typical second division game. We did enough even though it wasn’t pretty or pleasing on the eye.
“It’s the first time this season I’ve had to manage at half time. I knew there was more to come and I wanted to see it. We looked off the pace too much for my liking and it was good to get a reaction to what I had to say.
“It was done in the right way because we have got a culture within the group whereby we are more demanding of each other. When they came in at half time I knew it was time for me to demand more from all of them.”
“There’s confidence and belief building in that dressing room and they had to face another challenge by allowing themselves to go behind again,” he commented. “We started well and Derek [Asamoah] had a couple of chances to do something.
“Jason Kennedy had a great chance inside the box and if you take those chances you’re looking at a comfortable lead within the first ten minutes or so. As it was we gave the opposition something to hold onto but we have to understand we’re not always going to get things our own way. You have to fight and scrap every week in this division and we’re showing that we’re going to be able to do that.
“People have walked away from the ground today knowing we can win ugly. We needed to have that grit and determination at times because this level of football calls for you to do that. The football from us wasn’t as free flowing as it can be and we looked a little bit disjointed.
“I felt we were a little bit static and we looked like we were waiting for a spark which didn’t really come. We got the goal at the right time in the second half and we consistently looked like being a threat after that.”
On the goal conceded which gave Dagenham the lead, he said: “Rather than being disappointed with the goal I was more disappointed with our movement off the ball. We knew the threat they would bring and we didn’t work hard enough to prevent it.
“I was really pleased for Angelo [Balanta] because he brought us back into it well. There’s a lot more still to come from him. He needs the ball at the right time and we weren’t giving it to him in the right areas anywhere near enough.
“We’d talked to him about getting the wrong side of his midfielder and he did that. Then he hit the target with purpose and he got his goal because of it. Today was a day for Angelo to come in because we felt he could cause problems for their sitting midfielder. That took Jason [Kennedy] wide and that was a move that worked for him and us. We looked at it on the training ground and it’s credit to everyone for putting it into action. We won’t be predictable but we do things for a reason. Jason was placed on the left deliberately to nullify one of the strengths they have on their right hand side. He was prepared to do that for the team.”
And on the winner scored by in-form striker Jabo Ibehre, he said: “Being honest, I didn’t think we’d have ten goals from Jabo at this stage. He’s given us a focal point away from the scoring goals side of his game.
“He’s reliable and he brings a superb physical presence. He’s added something we haven’t had in the team since I’ve been here and centre backs know they’ve been in a game with him when they walk off the pitch.
“Jabo was one of the players who needed a kick up the backside at half time. He took it well and it was fantastic to see him go on from it and get the rewards. He’ll be a different animal for that because I now know he can take a bollocking.
He brings us more than goals but every striker likes to be on the score sheet. He’ll get goals because of the way we play and because he appreciates his role in the team. Him being prepared to be the battering ram allows us to play our football.”
“I’m pleased overall because this group is a work in progress and we’re still looking to add to it so that we can improve even more,” he concluded. “We’ve had the green light from a Premier League club to talk to two players about a potential loan.
“We now take it to the powers that be to see if we can get the finances correct. Then it comes down to me being able to meet the players to see if they’re made of the right character and have the right mindset. We want to know we can work with whoever we bring in so we always take our time over this stage of the process.
“We’ll find out on Monday if they’ll be able to join in with the game at Middlesbrough on Tuesday or not. If they don’t come off we have other options to pursue, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
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