Keith Curle with reaction to the Yeovil Town gameUnited manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the latest home victory shortly after full time on Saturday.
“There are different ways to win a game of football and different components needed to see it through,” he said. “We started exactly how we wanted to and I thought we had total dominance.
“We made them look a little bit nervous because we put balls into good areas. I thought we did what we needed to do in the first half by turning them and putting pressure on them.
“The only problems we had were caused by ourselves through indecision and choosing the wrong options. We knew we needed to get back to doing the same kind of things very quickly in the second half. The one thing we didn’t want to do was give them any kind of foothold.
“It was obvious that their manager was going to give them a rollicking at half time because he wouldn’t have been happy with how they competed against us in the first half. He needed to get a reaction and, credit to him and his players, they got that.
“You could hear him raise his voice and tone so we knew they were going to come out at us. Marking at set pieces is something we’ve got better and better at but it was loose today and that resulted in them scoring a goal. After that we had to withstand a lot of pressure and we dealt with it.
“We couldn’t find the same level of dominance after the break but I thought, as the half wore on, we got better and better on the break. It’s a learning curve for me because there could be occasions where we do need to go more defensive and put people in areas to block holes up. However, I like scoring goals and sometimes the best form of defence is to attack.”
“There are still things to work on because we made the game more difficult than we needed to,” he continued. “It was a very long second half for us but we stood up when we needed to be brave. Some of the clearances and blocks were superb but, as I say, we know we can still improve.
“If we look at the goal we gave away we’re not happy with the marking at all. These players are still learning and the good thing is, even after that goal, they showed they have the freedom to go out and express themselves. We’re busy trying to create a team which will play the game how we want it to be played and we think it’s coming together.
“The pleasing thing was that I don’t think Yeovil played through us too many times, but they did have some shots from distance. Overall we nullified a team that’s been playing with confidence and we looked a threat ourselves.”
The result, which took United’s unbeaten home league run to eleven games, saw a number of changes in individual roles and formations as the team adapted to the ever-shifting nature of the game.
“I’m a very demanding character and the results are coming because we demand performances on a daily basis,” Curle said. “The attitude from the players when they come into work is phenomenal. We challenge them every day by giving them different scenarios for them to work out.
“Being able to take that into a competitive game shows that we can grind out results. We’re enjoying playing in front of our supporters and that’s pleasing. We don’t collapse if a team scores against us any more and the changing room has got to take a lot of credit for that. We may not have strength in numbers but we do have a lot of strength in quality.
“These players have made Brunton Park a difficult place to come. The fantastic playing surface we have lends itself to us getting the ball down and passing it around. The players know they can trust the surface they’re working on.
“You also then have the travel factor. People don’t like coming this far north when they know they’re going up against a team which is very committed. We’re now confident of getting goals and points at home and that shows with the way we are approaching the games.”
On the return of Jabo Ibehre from a niggling injury, he said: “He wants to be playing in this team. We were stretched in numbers with the 18 available on the team sheet, but we had good strength and options. It’s a very good core and nucleus we have in that dressing room.
“We have players of Jabo’s quality coming back into the fold and that’s another plus. He wants to play and when you consider that we have Shaun Miller, Charlie Wyke and Derek Asamoah, who all want to be in those starting places, you realise you have decent options. It shows again that we might not have a massive squad, but we do have real quality.
“On top of that we have some very good players who weren’t involved at all. It’s difficult to put a timeframe on it with Danny Grainger and Michael Jones but they’re in very good hands and as and when they’re ready we’ll be using them.”
With the next game [away at Crewe on Boxing Day] nine days away we wondered if that would change the format of the working week, particularly with the festive period looming large.
“The players have got their Christmas party tonight [Saturday] and they’ve been sent away knowing what is expected of them. There’ll be high spirits, which is fine, but they understand what is required of them by their football club and their profession.
“I’ve told them not to bring trouble to my door because I simply don’t need need it. Trouble can start anywhere so, if there’s any sign of it, take your partner somewhere else. Look after each, enjoy the banter and everything else, but be sensible. The pleasing thing is we have a group with good focus so I trust them to have a good time.
“They’ve gone in fancy dress so if you see Ginger Spice acting up rest assured it’s not the real Ginger Spice, it’s one of our players!”
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