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MANAGER: I will continually demand high levels of performance

25 September 2015

Keith Curle ahead of the visit of Newport County AFC

Manager Keith Curle spoke to us ahead of the visit of Newport County AFC on Saturday afternoon.

“Part of the mental preparation for tomorrow has been to embrace the performance and result from Wednesday and make sure we use it as something to build on,” he said. “With the way the week has been for us the mental approach has got to be right for tomorrow.

“We’re very respectful of what Newport will bring. They’re bottom of the league but this football club has been in that position recently and we know it isn’t a nice place to be. We’ll show them the respect they deserve by the attention to detail in our preparation but the fact is we want three points on the board to back up what happened at Anfield.

“Everyone associated with the football club walked out of that fantastic stadium with their head held high. Credit to the staff at Liverpool because we were all made to feel like we belonged there by the way we were treated. They appreciated the fact that we went to compete. That’s a big thank you to them for that.”

“I have a lot of selection headaches for tomorrow,” he added. “Every one of them is chomping at the bit to be involved. They all want to be in the 18, and the starting eleven, and that shows we got the recruitment side of it right during the summer.

“Whoever is picked we will see another committed display. They’re going out there to get us a victory and we know if we can perform we can score goals. I don’t owe any of them any favours and they all have to earn the right to be in the team.”

“We’re all enjoying the feel good factor you can feel around the city,” he told us. “There’s a spring in the step because we’re all pulling in the same direction. The supporters are showing an appreciation of the hard work that’s been done and they’re seeing a very committed group which is trying to perform for them every single time they take to the pitch. 

“I’ve spoken to the players and I’ve told them I will continually demand high levels of performance from them. We need three points on Saturday and that desire will spread from me to the players from the moment they come in for the game.” 

“The good thing is we have a level of maturity which makes these players easy to deal with,” he commented. “They aren’t silly little boys and they don’t get over excited. They know they’ve answered questions by the way they approached the game at Anfield. Now they have more to answer in the way they approach tomorrow.

“Newport will be fighting for their lives. I know how they’ll be thinking because I was in the same situation last season. I walked into a club which was low on confidence, and a number of points adrift at the bottom, but we survived. 

“They will compete for everything because they will want to do the same. There’s no way they want to be bottom of the Football League. We’ll have to match the fight they bring to it and, as always, earn the right to play our game.

“Ultimately we know the more good performances we put in the more people we will entice back to Brunton Park. Part of our aim is to make it a fortress. Teams have enjoyed coming here far too much in recent seasons because they’ve been on a great playing surface against a team low in confidence. 

“We’re starting to turn that round and that comes from the mentality we’re developing in the changing room. We’re all of the opinion that we can’t settle for being in the bottom half of the second division. Collectively we want more than that.

“I think the fans want more than that as well. I would ask them to come and be our twelfth man again. Not many clubs have fans who can out-sing the home crowd at Anfield but, with our supporters, I think they can do that to anyone. With them behind us it can only ever be a good thing.”

On the injury situation, he said: “It’s still too early for Charlie Wyke. The protective boot is off now but he still isn’t doing field-based training. Other than that we have a clean bill of health. 

“We’re still looking to add to the squad but I would say don’t panic just because you aren’t seeing new faces week in and week out. It means we’re happy with where we are and we’re also making sure we see any targets we have as much as we possibly can. 

“We still have one of the players we mentioned a few weeks ago in our sights. We’ve moved on from the other one but, like I say, we always have targets in mind. 

“Dean Leacock is still with us but he needs more time. He’ll continue to work and train with us because he’s getting fitter all the time.”

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