Keith Curle with his reaction to the Accrington game
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the 1-1 draw with Accrington shortly after full time on Saturday.
“It wasn’t a classic by any means but I think we have to understand that teams will come here and employ the same tactics as Accrington,” he said. “They came to spoil it and they weren’t interested in making it a football encounter. They wanted to stop us from getting any rhythm and tempo and if they got a twisted sock they went down and looked for treatment.
“That was purely to stop the flow of the game but you have to acknowledge that was their game plan. It’s one where if we’d got the first goal their game plan would have had to change. Word has spread spread about how we want to play and teams are going to come and not let us play football. Accrington had one shot on target and scored from it, and that’s disappointing from our point of view.
“We had some exchanges of opinion between the technical areas but there’s nothing wrong with that. “John [Coleman] wants everything and so do I. It was two very professional and competitive benches. There was no animosity because I know he gets the best out of his players and I have a lot of respect for that.”
“The pleasing thing is there is good resolve and resilience about our team and we kept trying to do the right things in the right areas,” he added. “We had enough chances and half chances but we didn’t open them up as much as we would have liked. You’ve got to give them credit for that.
“Obviously they got their goal, which gave them something to defend. Goals change games and the mentality of the players and we created a few chances that could have changed the game for both teams.
“If one or two of them go in before they score it would have opened them up more. We're gaining respect from teams and we're working towards breaking the opposition down to create goal mouth opportunities. Goals win you games but you've got to make sure you've got that game management and professionalism to help you win in different ways if and when it’s needed.”
On conceding the first goal of the game, he said: “We don’t like going behind and ideally we’d like to go out and win a game by three or four goals to nil. That would make it an enjoyable afternoon for everybody.
“However, this league is won by having a level of consistency in your performances and I think we’re getting that. The players are enjoying it. It’s a group that doesn’t want to get beat and, as we’ve always said, there are different ways to win a football match.
“At this level it’s vital that you earn the right to play and you have to give Accrington credit because they stifled the midfield and they quietened the crowd down. It became a spectacle about how many times they could stop the ball from being in play, which suited them.
“They’ve had one shot and they’ve got the goal. That was a bit of a sucker punch and there are areas where we need to defend better. We should never have a striker in the area on his own but, again, that will come.
“We showed with the change we made at half time that we have options. That was a tactical thing. I didn’t think we were getting the ball into wide areas as often as I wanted and I didn’t think we were spreading them out enough. That’s why I felt we needed to go a little bit more second division and get wide to put the ball into the box.”
“When I went into the dressing room after the game there was a level of frustration and disappointment, but I've told them that a year ago the team would have been beaten by one or two goals if we’d been faced with the same situation,” he explained. “I can feel the resolve and resilience around the group. There’s a huge determination to maintain the unbeaten status.
“We’ve told the lads they’ve had enough chances to win the game but it was a point gained. There will be games going forward where we score first and win comfortably. There’ll be others where we score first and we have to react to the other team’s reaction.
“We have to remember the players have come into this game off the back of a very intensive start to the season. Playing four away games on the bounce does take its toll mentally. It has been a tough month and full credit to the medical department for the work they’ve done.
“There’s a physical and mental strength in the group where they face challenges head on, and we make sure we rest, train and prepare in the right way. There’ll be players not in the 18 on any given match day who would get into any other second division side. That’s a positive in my eyes.”
The game brought a first goal in a blue shirt for summer signing Nicky Adams who levelled the scores with a stunner of a strike with just under half an hour left to play.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Nicky will get double figures in scoring and assists,” Curle said. “The Accrington goalkeeper will be disappointed after being beaten from the distance he was. He can take credit for some of the other saves he made because he definitely kept them in the game.
“Nicky has got that kind of finish in his locker. If you show him down the outside he can cross the ball very effectively with his left foot, but if you show him inside he can go on and score. He's a very difficult player to try and stop.
“He’s not the only one who has added to the squad. We have some very good players here and putting teams away will come. It’s a long season and we don’t want to peak too soon. I’m very happy with where we are at the moment because we’re in touch with the teams at the right end of the table.”
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