Keith Curle on adapting to get results in all areasManager Keith Curle confirmed today that the decision to warn the players about dissent during the half time break at Stevenage had been deliberately taken following discussions with his staff before they went into the dressing room.
“As a coaching staff we always find a quiet corner for four or five minutes before we go in to speak to the players,” he explained. “Colin [West] sits up in the stand, with an overview of the game for us, and one of things he noticed was the attention and focus the players had on the officials.
“Some of the decisions were going in favour of the opposition, in their opinion, so we had to realign the focus for them. I told them we couldn’t afford for the game to be about the officials. They’re going to give decisions honestly and our job is to make sure we score more than the opposition. That’s why I told them there’d be a fine for dissent.
“Players don’t like giving money away. I made it clear they would be fined if they were booked for dissent or for actions similar to it. The message hit home and within a split second they went from talking about the decisions they felt had gone against them to how they were going to win the second half.”
“It’s another example of how the squad is adapting to what they need to do, as they need to do it,” he commented. “Everyone is pulling in the right direction and they know what they need to do to win games.
“The club as a whole is adapting to the challenges that have been thrown up over this last 12 months or so. I think I’ve said before that the infrastructure here is capable of getting us into the Championship.
“If you look at teams like Burton Albion, they’re a team who got one promotion then went straight through. The teams who went up from this division last season are all doing well in the league above this year. It shows that if you can get the nucleus right, and gain that momentum, you can very quickly go from one division to the next.
“I think the club had won one league game in 23 when I first came in and we’re now unbeaten in 14. That’s massive progress. There are a lot of people who have got to take a lot of praise for that. I’ve seen transformations in people I’ve worked with on a daily basis and that’s heartening, because it shows they’re coming on board.
“People are taking pride in their job, not just the players, but all staff at the football club. When people embrace change it usually means that something must be going in the right direction, because most don’t like it.”
“Everything I’m doing is because I have a need to be successful,” he said. “I have ambition, and one day I want to manage in the Premier League, but I’ve got a contract that safeguards me, so have the players, so there’s nothing to be scared of.
“If clubs want to come and look at our players and put a value on them that means we’re all doing well. If their price meets ours, that’s when things happen. If it doesn’t, they carry on performing the way they have done and keep getting the success they’ve been getting. I’m no different, I need to be successful, I’ve got drive and ambition and I’ve surrounded myself with people with that same drive and ambition so we can move the club forward.
“It was a football club at the wrong end of the division that needed change. Sometimes it’s not only the performances of the players on the pitch that can lead a club to being fourth bottom of the lowest league in the professional game. Lots of things needed to be done differently, which they have been, and as a football club we have a lot of people who need to take credit for it.”