Keith Curle on the squad, improvements and ongoing work
Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about the quality within the squad as the intensity of training picked up ahead of the weekend.
“I think a buzz was created as soon as we started signing players because the new arrivals added to what was already here and that got the fans excited,” he said. “The work we did showed everyone that we’re trying to move in the right direction.
“You try to put pieces of the jigsaw together and we had a very good start with the recruitment process. A lot of our work was done early and that was because we’d identified the targets we knew would improve us and we were able to bring them in.
“There’s still work to be done and we’re going to maximise every avenue we can to finalise a squad, before the transfer window closes, which will keep us very competitive in this division.
“We know we’re not the finished article yet and, as we speak, there are two or three positions I think we can improve on. Quality wise we have already seen an improvement but we haven’t got the depth I would ideally like.
“I’ve had phone calls over the last two days and my phone is always ringing, which is a good sign. We’re a second division club but we do want to improve that situation. I’ve made one call today which has progressed to the next level of talks with the Chief Executive. There will be further discussions on that regarding availability.”
“The squad is smaller but the quality is better,” he told us. “I knew we could keep the team in the division when we first got here, and from there we’ve put foundations down and built a platform. The aim with the players we have here now is to improve on last season’s finishing position.
“Adding to that, we have it in mind that people don’t come to Carlisle for a pay cheque. It’s more likely it’s a stepping stone in their career and they know there’s an avenue to earn money if the team is successful. For the player to get success he has to be playing at the top of his game and, if he’s doing that, it becomes a win-win situation for everybody.
“Players have come here in the past to wind down their career and to get a final pay out. We’ve assembled a very competitive group and that kind of thing is behind us. I won’t sign players I don’t like. They have to sit in front of me and impress me with their character and personality and I want to see what they’re about.
“They have to have the desire to immerse themselves in what we’re trying to create. We know we won’t have the biggest budget or squad, but they’ll wear the shirt with pride and they’ll be given the opportunity and the freedom to express themselves within a structure that sees us being difficult to beat.”
“Part of that is using your pre-season to embed the new players into the football club and introduce them to the ethos you’re trying to create,” he explained. “The new players have integrated well and they’ve been made very welcome. A number of them have already relocated to the area and that shows they’re buying in to what we want to achieve. There are some who have chosen to part relocate and part travel, but we’ll always get that because of where we are.
“The level of commitment from all of them has been excellent and we’re seeing a very good and professional body of players. They’re creating their own mantra of what we’re about and win, lose or draw we’re going to be competitive.”
“A huge benefit of training up at Creighton is that there are no distractions and the players get to think about nothing else but football,” he told us. “These next few days are about ourselves and what we want to produce in games. What we have now at Creighton is a professional football environment and boundaries are being set and put in place where everyone within the organisation knows their roles and responsibilities.
“People are doing their jobs and ultimately mine is to pick a winning team and to find the best players I possibly can. What we have at the moment is a squad of players who could all start on Saturday and I think that’s an excellent problem to have.
“I want to have sleepless nights thinking about how I’m going to tell someone they aren’t playing because they are all quality players. Jose Mourinho will have to do it with a squad of 25 international players. It’s no different for me – I have to do it at our level, but I can assure you I’ll be making my selections based on us getting results.”
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