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MANAGER: The fans were willing the ball to go in

27 February 2016

Keith Curle with his reaction to the Morecambe victory

Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the dramatic away win at Morecambe on Saturday.

“It was a definite game of two halves,” he said. “We’re going to have to look at our preparation because we came into this off the back of a long journey and the training sessions we felt we needed to get ready for a tough game. We thought we’d got it right but I don’t think we started well at all in the first half.

“We weren’t able to reproduce the intensity that was in our play on Tuesday night. The pleasing thing was the second half was a complete contrast and we started to look a decent side again.

“I told the players after the game that this is the reason why I get frustrated. I know what’s in that dressing room and they have to start believing that if we get into the play-offs we will go up. That’s why we’ll monitor the rest and recuperation time between games and we’ll also look at the training load. The reason for that is that I don’t want to see us start to look flat-footed and off the pace.”

“Credit has to go to Morecambe because they pushed us early on,” he added. “I know their manager well and a Jim Bentley team is always going to be up for it. They outnumbered us in certain areas and that gave them some good momentum. 

“We went for a tactical change in the second half and that allowed us to cause them some problems. The question could be asked why we didn’t start the game like that but we had an idea they were going to go with three at the back. We felt we would be able to deal with that but, as it was, we didn’t get in contention with the ball early enough and we didn’t use it well enough when we did get it.

“The changes we made show we’re flexible and adaptable and that we’re very good at taking information on board. It’s important to have people on the bench who can change games and that’s the sign of a good squad.”

“It was a game where we had to be very competitive,” he agreed. “You need to be if you’re going to come to Morecambe and get anything. There’s a naivety within the group as well, and we’re working on that, and sometimes we do need to hold their hands through difficult situations. 

“I was pleased we got into half time at just 1-0 down because I knew we had it in us to change things and score goals. It was fitting that we were playing toward our fans in the second half because you could feel them willing the ball to go into the net. 

“We’ve just found out that 47% of the crowd was made up of Carlisle fans and that is phenomenal. The noise was magnificent and you can tell there is a unity growing. Even when we were behind at half time the supporters were with us. That’s because they know there’s a level of commitment within their football staff which means we want to do well for them.

“I have to say that it’s fantastic to hear them all singing your name. I’m a very proud person and I have pride in the job that I do. I’m also very proud to be the manager of Carlisle United and I know there’s a journey for this football club to go on. I’m desperate to be a massive part of it.”

On the walking wounded, he said: “It looks like Brandon [Comley] has a similar injury to the one Danny Grainger picked up. He rocked his ankle when it was scissored by both legs being wrapped round his during a tackle. His ankle was forced one way and his studs were stuck in the ground taking him the other.

“He’s a tenacious lad and he tried his damndest to stay on the pitch. We had to look at it and take the medical advice at half time, and the feeling was that allowing him to play on would only make it worse. We needed his type of approach on the pitch but we have to be professional about it. We will now give it 72 hours to let the swelling go down and we’ll assess it from there.

“I have to say, Luke Joyce was chomping at the bit to get back into the team and I thought he was excellent. That shows the strength of the squad we have now because these lads are stepping up as and when they need to.”

“Another pleasing performance was Dan Hanford,” he said. “He made a good save at the start of the second half and that’s because he’s listened intently to what Simon Tracey has had to say to him.

“He’s been taught and coached and it shows the progress he’s making. That shows us the value of having a goalkeeper coach and not just a goalkeeper trainer. I said to Simon and Lee Dykes on the side of the pitch with about 25 minutes to go that I thought the game was there for the taking. We felt that if we could get one we’d go on and get another. The substitutions helped and worked and that’s the power of having good players on the bench.”

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