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MANAGER: We were below par all over the park

13 February 2016

Keith Curle on Newport and his contract agreement

Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the disappointing away result at Newport.

“I am disappointed and that’s not only because of the result,” he said. “Our disappointment at the fact we lost goes without saying. We aren’t happy because there’s a massive difference in the level of performance from last week compared to what we saw this week.

“We’re striving to get consistency in our performances, but there’s a level of acceptance about this one. I know the reasons why we weren’t quite at it the way we wanted to be. There’s been a sickness and a virus which has gone through the camp and that has left something like five players, possibly more, feeling unwell and weak. 

“The good thing is that they were prepared to go out and try to work through it for us. Unfortunately it left them feeling below par and we didn’t get anywhere near the energy levels we usually see.”

“We had a couple of half chances in the first half which might have given us a lift, had we put one away, but there was definitely a spark missing,” he continued. “Newport played the pitch better than we did and it was a day where we needed to defend with assurance.

“In the end I thought Newport were worthy winners. Their forwards looked bright and they gave us problems. We have to be honest and say we were below par all over the park and it probably needed us to get the first goal for us to give ourselves the mental lift we needed.”

“The virus has had an impact but it’s a 24 or 48-hour thing which we need to get out of their systems,” he explained. “Players have been sick and unable to train for a few days and they are still feeling the knock-on effects of it all.

“We got away with it last week because we only had Jabo [Ibehre] who was suffering, and he was able to train with us on Friday. Unfortunately we had others who picked it up later in the week and we even had some who met us at the hotel to keep them away from the group. They went straight to bed last night and that kind of thing does put people on a low ebb. It means they don’t have the extra yard they would normally have.”

“Hallam [Hope] was one of the players who was off on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday,” he commented. “He travelled down on his own to the team hotel so Antony Sweeney came in to give us a bit of cover on the left hand side. 

“We managed to keep it quiet that this virus had affected us, which was pleasing, because we didn’t want to come here having given Newport any kind of psychological advantage. They scored from their one clear shot on goal and another disappointing aspect of the day for us was that we didn’t manage to muster any real chances of note of our own in the second half.”

On the effort put in by the lads, he said: “I’ve got an honest changing room in there which gives me everything week in and week out. They did everything they could to get as much out of themselves as possible. 

“You know yourself that when you aren’t well there’s only so much you can actually give. This is a bit of a slap in the face for us but we have a game on Tuesday where we can get back out there and put it right. The first half was better because we showed that we could compete. Unfortunately what we’ve been dealing with these last few days has caught us short.”

Good news emerged this afternoon that contract talks have now successfully concluded with the first team manager and that his deal, which keeps him at Brunton Park until the summer of 2018, is to be signed imminently.

“The contract has now been agreed in principle and the small discussion points we all had were resolved on Friday,” he said. “The necessary document has been finalised and it is now ready for me to sign. I’ll be doing that as soon as I see the chairman. 

“The terms and conditions have been in place since November and I’ve been paid on the basis of that. It was purely a case of getting the finer points down in writing to protect everyone. Once that’s done it becomes binding and that’s where we all wanted to be. 

“It’s a massive step for the club to take and also a big step for myself. I know people have been frustrated that it hasn’t been sorted but I also know the club has had difficulties before with the wording of some contracts.

“The club and I have made sure we’re all facing in the same direction this time and we all have a good understanding of where we want to go. It’s now about the implementation of a footballing philosophy which will make us successful and which will bring results.

“I know my ambition for the club is matched by the owners and all I can ask is for them to back me as I look for improvement at every level of the club. We’ve left no stone unturned in our discussions and, let’s make no mistake about this, I want to be successful. I can only get that if I have the full backing of everyone. I know I’ve got that and I’m looking forward to taking the next steps of the journey we are all on.”

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