Keith Curle with reaction to the Accrington Stanley game
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the home victory over Accrington Stanley on Saturday afternoon.
“It was important that we gave a professional performance, and I think we did that,” he said. “Accrington are a good, lively group and they’re playing with a lot of confidence at the moment. I didn’t feel we had the flow in our game I wanted to see but we tried to do things properly, and that was pleasing.
“I don’t think Mark Gillespie was troubled too much, but I don’t think their keeper was troubled as much as I would have liked him to have been either.”
“The level of performance was important today because I think we all needed to see it,” he added. “I’ve picked up on the fact that there’s been a feeling around the place that we’ve had Everton and the excitement has all gone now. That game brought a full house, TV cameras and national attention, but it’s done and dusted and it would easy to say that the season will now peter out.
“The challenge I set the players was to make sure we found the momentum to get us back up to where we want to be. That comes from doing things properly, both through the week and on a match day. I didn’t want to see any kind of lull and, if we are going to be a successful team, it starts with our standards. I’m not going to let them drop because, if we do, this football club will go back to having a level of indifference about it. I don’t want that and neither do our fans.”
“Something else I’ve told the players is that I want to take this football club on a journey,” he explained. “Their role in that is to stay with me. I’m going to challenge them continually and I’m going to do my best to get the very best out of everybody. This club is geared to take a journey and I want people with me who have the same hunger and desire to make it happen.
“The fans are playing their part. Every time Brandon Comley ripped into a tackle you could hear that it was what our crowd wanted to see. They want to see a desire to win the ball and to ultimately win games.
“The next challenge to the players is to look at the fact they’ve had a win after the Everton game, as we asked from them, but is that it? Does it stop there? No, it doesn’t is the answer from me on that one. What we ask of them now is to do the same and turn it into two wins next Saturday.”
“I think we all enjoyed seeing the strikers get on the score sheet,” he agreed. “They got on the end of things inside the box and they then showed a bit of composure to put the ball away. Both goals came from keeping the ball alive. We look to be a threat from set pieces by putting the ball back into an area where goals can be scored from.
“Both goal scorers have worked hard recently, and they’ve had to be patient, but that’s the reward you get from getting your head down and doing your job. That’s what this club is about. The incentivised structure we try to put in place means that we reward our players for clean sheets and goals. I thought we were solid overall and that was good to see.”
“We slightly changed the shape by going with four out-and-out attacking players and we had two sitting and dogged midfield players behind them to nullify the opposition threats,” he commented. “Along with that we wanted a solid four at the back who could cope with the strength and movement Accrington have. I thought each department did what was required to get the victory.
“Things could have been disrupted when Michael Raynes came off the pitch, but we got on with it. He took a blow to the face and the first thing he did was go to the mirror to check it out. As far as he’s concerned he’s still as handsome as he was when the game started, so that’s pleasing for him. All of the other lads are making sure they don’t look in the same mirror! Fortunately it was just a blow to the face and he knows where he is … he knows he scored a hat-trick and that it was a very successful afternoon for him.”
“It was good to see the way the players dealt with and adapted to the blow of seeing him leave the pitch,” he told us. “There were a few shouts from behind me to get Troy Archibald-Henville on. In my opinion, with the opposition we were up against, it just wasn’t a day for Troy. It needed Mark Ellis and Dave Atkinson who, I felt, were more suited to the threats we were going to face. Having said that, Troy is still an integral part of this squad and he’s there for when the game will suit his style of play.
“We got to half time in good shape and I told the lads to make sure they didn’t think the game was over. I know what John Coleman is like and I know what he demands from his players. They never lie down, but they came up against a team today which was prepared to match them toe-to-toe in every department. We looked like we had players who understood their roles and responsibilities and we can take some good things away from having done that.
“I spoke to John Coleman after the game and he said it felt like they’d played against a team full of men who wanted the result. That’s a compliment to us. It wasn’t the most entertaining spectacle but there was a real level of commitment. We got the goals at the right times and that killed the game.
“What you can’t do with a team like Accrington is give them a head start or let them build up a head of steam. We had four quality forwards on the pitch and with Jabo, Hallam, Charlie and Alex and that showed a slight change in philosophy from me. Jason Kennedy and Brandon Comley gave us bite in midfield and that gave us our first line of defence in a really important area.
“Defensively we looked strong and we had Alexander [McQueen] in there because Tom Miller had a slight knock. Overall everyone did their bit and we come away having got a little bit of that belief back which is so important at this stage of the season.”
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