Manager Keith Curle on enjoying success, loan players and improvementWith the Cumbrians heading into the busy Christmas period in good shape manager Keith Curle spoke today about the excellent start to the season which has taken his team into the upper reaches of the division.
“We’re enjoying where we are and we enjoy the reasons why we’ve got to where we are,” he said. “There’s a lot of hard work goes in throughout the week, on the training ground and behind the scenes, to maintain the level of performance which the players are adhering to.
“You start the season with expectations and a goal because we all know where we want to be. When it comes to it, we want to be top of the league when we get to May. Every day gives us an opportunity to work towards that goal and that’s a message we’ve managed to get to the players. Everything we do is geared towards success.”
“I wouldn’t say I’m delighted with where we are right now but I would say that I’m happy,” he clarified. “We’re still a work in progress and the 23-game half-way point will be another time for reflection.
“An improvement on what we’ve already done at that point will take us to where we want to be. There’ll be twists and turns because there are teams at the bottom of the table who I don’t think should be there.
“Cambridge have picked up and are doing very well, and Exeter are going to be a force to be reckoned with. On their day, a lot of teams can beat anybody, and that’s why the Christmas period is vitally important.”
“When you look at the teams up there with us, and the backing some of them have in place, for us to be amongst that means we’re doing very well,” he commented. “We know other teams will have the firepower to go and strengthen, but having money doesn’t always mean success.
“If you don’t bring in the right players, who are exactly what you need, it can cause different kinds of problems. It’s the availability of money and not how much money we spend that’s the key to how we go shopping.
“It’s good housekeeping. I don’t want to bring players here to sit in the stand. If they come here I want them to be out on the pitch and performing. That’s what helps to create a really competitive environment.”
With a run of Monday-Saturday-Monday games to take United through the holiday period Curle admitted that he he’s keeping his eye on the players he has sent out on loan.
“The lads we’ve got out on loan are definitely a consideration in terms of bringing them back,” he said. “It’s a double-edged sword because they’re out playing football and being progressive, which is important. We could end up getting a player back for a couple of weeks then potentially have him sat in the stand and not playing.
“It’s a balancing act and it’s part of my job to make decisions which won’t leave us exposed. If it means I’ve got to look at the youth in the football club, I’m not scared of doing that. Some of the young lads are training with us today [Thursday] even though they’ve got a game tomorrow. I think it’s important for their development that they’re in and around the group.”
“The pleasing thing is I’m very happy with the players I’ve got in the squad because I think they can do us a job,” he said. “As we’ve said, there’s still room for a lot of improvement within that.
“Another thing we keep repeating is that we’re very happy with the recruitment we did in the summer. I don’t think we’ve maximised the full potential of those players and that’s why it’s a pleasure working with them. As a football department we’re always striving to improve and that will continue to be the case.
“There are still things I see the players do in training that I think we can replicate in games. Some of our passing movements are excellent. Some of our set-play routines we haven’t unleashed yet are there to be worked on as well.
“There are more goals to come from this team from some unlikely sources. The lads here now have shown they’re adaptable and that’s the sign of very good players. But yes, we will look to improve when we can.
“It’s an ever-changing environment at the club whereby things change constantly, which can have an impact on what we do. I’m fully aware that I will get told what is available as and when that’s needed.
“In the meantime we carry on with business as usual which means we will continue to scout and identify players we think will improve us. We’re constantly looking for emerging talent or proven quality, whichever is available, which will add to our squad.
“That means we look at U21s, U23s, non-league or players at other clubs. We’ve got good reach into a lot of different areas and we utilise that as much as we can.”