Keith Curle with his reaction to the Wycombe home winManager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the hard-earned home win against Wycombe Wanderers which takes United back into the play-off places.
“I thought we earned the win,” he said. “You have to give credit to Wycombe because they came here and they made themselves difficult to break down. They showed good energy levels and a good understanding of the job they’d been asked to do.
“They will try and stop you from playing. It was a stop-start games but that’s what Wycombe are about. They’ll upset a few teams along the way. They were physical and direct and we needed to stand up to it.
“Sometimes you find teams will think they can come and bully you and it isn’t always the best solution to go toe-to-toe. We had to earn the right to go and play football and we had to use our big, powerful men to deal with what they had to throw at us.
“Our centre backs did that and they also showed intelligence by using quick feet to step out of confrontations to give themselves time to deal with things. Defensively we looked solid and as and when we’d earned the right to play, we immediately looked to use the ball.
“For us it was a game about team unity and it was difficult to pick out individuals who stood out. I did think about changing it from 4-4-2 but we went with it and our midfielders did their jobs.
“It took probably ten minutes or so for us to get into a flow, but we got there and the work we’d done on how we wanted to play during the week started to come through. You win games by having possession of the ball and in the end I thought we deserved the victory.”
“That was a tough game,” he said. “We needed to be strong and sometimes what we wanted to do came in patches but, overall, I felt we deserved the three points.
“I still think we can exploit the wide areas more but there were a lot of pleasing aspects to come out of the game. Physically we acquitted ourselves well and mentally we showed good game management.
“The crowd understand what it is we’re doing when we’re managing a game and they’re at a point where they’re expecting it to happen. I thought Mark Gillespie was excellent as and when he was needed him and we looked assured and competitive right across the pitch.
“We’re trying to do the right things at the moment and there’s resilience and ability in the squad. We know that if things had gone our way we could have been top of the league. That isn’t the case, but we’re in very good shape.”
Speaking about Shaun Miller’s first league goal of the season, he said: “There was a level of aggression about Shaun’s play that I liked in this game. His goal was taken superbly and some of his movement was excellent.
“The timing of his runs is getting better and he’s becoming a very good player for us. He’s possibly the only centre forward we have at the club who would have got on the end of his first chance and I know he will score goals for this club.
“We’re still learning about Shaun as a group. There have been occasions when he’s made great runs and we haven’t found him quickly enough. That’s part of our development and the process of learning about what he brings.
“He played 70 minutes of a reserve game at Oldham on Tuesday and that was purely because I wanted to see a reaction like this from him. He was angry because he didn’t want to be on a mini-bus trip down there.
“I wanted to annoy the living daylights out of him. Let me tell you, he was absolutely livid. I told him on Thursday that his reaction is what had got him into the starting line up. It showed me that he knows what I’m about and he knows what I need.
“His discontent was shown when he ran around in that game and gave it everything. He upset people and, again, he scored a very good goal which showed me he was ready to be involved today.”
On trialist Derek Asamoah, he said: “He’s had some time with his family this weekend but he’s desperate to find out if there’s something here for him. He knows I won’t give contracts out unless I’m completely happy. He needs to show me he’s sharp and ready to add to the squad right now.
“He has been sent away with a heart rate monitor and it’s not one he can put on the dog before he sends it outside. It’s tailored to him and the data we get will show us if he really wants to be here or not. Will he go away now and do the hard work? We’ll find out. He’ll be back with us towards the end of the week as he continues to maintain his fitness levels.
“The other trialist who has been with us was here today to watch the game. He’s away through the early part of the week but he’ll come back up on Wednesday for us to have another look at him.”