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MANAGER: We competed very well

2 April 2016

Keith Curle with reaction to the Portsmouth away game

Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction the Portsmouth away game shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s one of those days where it takes a little bit of time for it to sink in,” he said. “I’ve left the players with the thought that we’re gradually getting better. However, there’s a level of frustration from today because we competed very well.

“We did enough to walk away with a point as a minimum, but it wasn’t to be. There are things we need to improve on but overall it was a pleasing and creditable performance.

“Tactically and technically there were things in the game we were very pleased with. We nullified them but I don’t think we played as much with the ball in the second half as we should have.”

“We set our stall out and we’d analysed the way we thought they would play,” he explained. “We knew we could cause them problems and we’ve seen the strength we’ve got in the squad with the way we finished with five or six attack minded players who tried to get us a positive result.

“I think the game panned out as we thought it would but the disappointing aspect was probably the first 15 minutes of the second half. I don’t think we got into a passing rhythm and we didn’t move their two sitting midfielders around enough. The two best chances of the game came our way in the closing minutes so there’s frustration around that things could have been different.”

Speaking about team selection, he said: “We pick our team based on what we think we need to do the job. Hallam Hope is a good example because he missed out last week. He came back in because we felt he could give them something to think about today.

“Portsmouth had bits and pieces of possession, and you’re going to get that with the home team, but we know we did enough to possibly even have won it. We had the chance at the end where Derek [Asamoah] put the ball across the face of goal and it bounced over Hallam’s toe. 

“Right at the end Jabo [Ibehre] had his chance and he missed the target. What we don’t do is dwell on any of that for too long because I think it’s a performance we can be proud of. The personnel who stepped into the fray took on board everything we told them and that’s very pleasing.”

On the goal conceded, he said: “Mark has made a mistake and he has to deal with it. There’s a saying I use which my mum told me – cry a river, build a bridge, get over it. He’s a keeper, he’s made a mistake, but I can deal with it and so can Mark. 

“There won’t be anybody on the team bus who will be more disappointed than he is. As I say, it’s one where you can’t afford to carry it round as baggage. You use the next game to put it right. He’s saved penalties, kept us in games and won us points. He’s on a learning curve where he’s developing and getting better and better.”

“We’ll all look at the game and what we can learn from it and then it’s on to the next one. We have two home games coming up and they’re absolutely massive. We’ve had a big occasion against a big team today and I have to say I’m disappointed to see a club of this magnitude in the second division.

“I think the same about Carlisle United. We’re bigger than the second division and we’re putting foundations in place to get us out of this.”

“We’re at a stage of the season where it’s no longer about performances, it’s about results,” he concluded. “I don’t care how we win. I think the fans understand that and they’ve stuck with us. The travelling supporters today were phenomenal. They showed their appreciation at the end because they knew their players had competed.”

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