Keith Curle with reaction to the Blackpool away gameManager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the away draw at Blackpool shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.
“It was a proper second division game of football,” he said. “It wasn’t the prettiest, at times, with the ball being lumped into the box, so you have to adapt to that. I thought our shape looked wrong in the first half and we were too open and expansive.
“We tried to play in the wrong areas and we needed half time to come. Mark Gillespie was excellent and he kept us in the game with two fantastic saves. I thought that might have been the little bit of luck we needed to give us the opportunity to regroup.
“The focus on what we were trying to do was changed for the second half and I thought we had a good foothold in the game. We looked dangerous and we were worthy of being two goals up. There was the occasional punt to deal with but, apart form that, we looked comfortable.
“We had the chance to potentially score a third goal and that would have been game, set and match. We didn’t take it and 2-0 can sometimes be a dangerous lead to have. In the end we come off the pitch with a draw, and I’ll take that with how things went with 15 minutes left to play. In the same way, five minutes before that, when we had our lead, I think their manager would have taken anything out of the game.
“Obviously there are areas of frustration but we’ve come away from home to face a club which has good resources. They have a good size of squad and budget and we’ve come here and competed very well.”
Speaking about the second half changes, he said: “You have to have a tactical brain and you have to be aware of what they’re doing. They went gung-ho and they were putting balls into our box.
“That meant they were getting on the end of too many balls and I felt I needed to put another body down there because they were winning the first contact. If that keeps happening it will eventually land with one of their players. I had to nullify that so we changed it to three in midfield. with Nicky Adams playing off Charlie Wyke.
“That worked better than having a 5-4-1 and I thought we looked dangerous when we got Nicky to run with the ball. We have a very adaptable squad and we’ve come to a very difficult place and given a competitive display.”
“I will always take full responsibility if those changes are seen as negative,” he insisted. “I thought we did well and as and when we needed Mark Gillespie he was there for us. Even then I thought we had opportunities and at half time we thought it could have been one of those games where we hadn’t created as many chances but we would go on and take something.
“We’ve seen again that we have resilience where we won’t get rolled over away from home. I think I have the understanding and trust from the majority of supporters where they know I’m putting out teams which, in my opinion, are going to win us games.”
“I have to say, the number of Carlisle fans here was fantastic,” he commented. “When you walk out and see them behind the goal it gives you a real lift, and I was more than happy to know we were going to be attacking in front of them for the second half. They were always going to help us get that ball into the net.
“Good players look forward to playing in front of crowds like that. You need to be able to adapt and play well in those situations. I’m disappointed today because we conceded typical second division goals. We need to improve and get better at that.
“Sometimes you have to pick your battles and, in some cases, it’s better not to get involved, particularly if somebody is bigger, quicker or stronger than you. You need to have a plan B because you don’t want to get involved in races.
“For our goals, the ball in from Nicky Adams for Michael Raynes was unbelievable. It had jam on it and it was on of those where you say – go on, go and have your dinner. Charlie [Wyke] was excellent for his and you wouldn’t want a ball like that to land for anybody else in that kind of situation.
“There are positives to take and we are still a fledgling group which is coming together and putting in performances to help us build success. Sometimes you don’t always get what you deserve, but we could and possibly should have been behind in the first half. Credit goes to them for that. After the break we more than deserved to be in front.
“That’s because we’re performing and we’re maximising what we’ve got. I don’t think we’re getting the rewards our efforts deserve at the moment, but it will come. Overall I thought this was a good game of football and the never-say-die attitude we’re seeing doesn’t happen overnight.
“We’re very proud of the fact we have it within the group because we’re no longer seeing an acceptance of defeat. The environment we’re working in is changing and things are improving massively.”