Keith Curle with reaction to the Doncaster away gameManager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the excellent performance in the away draw at Doncaster on Tuesday night.
“I think they’re a good team, but so are we,” he said. “Darren has a very talented squad at his disposal and they have strength in depth here. The pleasing thing is they wanted the final whistle to come because we were the side in the ascendency.
“We were getting the ball in wide areas and we were hurting them. We took a little bit of time to adapt to their shape, and how they wanted to play, even though we did cause them problems in the opening exchanges.
“We felt that us trying to play them at their game caused problems for ourselves as the game progressed because we weren’t getting enough people forward. Overall we saw some good stuff from both parties and I thought we caused them problems in wide areas all night.
“There won’t be many teams who come here and make it so that Doncaster are happy to hear the final whistle. They had good opportunities but we were the team who dominated and who looked like winning it at the end.”
“I think there will be elements of the game both managers will be happy with and things we will feel we can still work on and improve,” he continued. “It was a good learning curve for us. We’re competing against teams who have been plying their trade at higher levels. We’ve come through unscathed and we’re putting in good performances.”
Talking about lessons learned, he said: “We were too open for their first goal. The ball looked to be going out but Nicky Adams tried to do something with it and a sliding tackle kept it in play.
“Four passes later they were through one against one. That can’t be allowed to happen. Again, the second goal was a centre forward who shifted the ball half a yard and scored. We should deal with that.
“The penalty was a massive turning point because it changed the mentality of the game. I thought the referee was in a good position and it obviously wasn’t a blatant penalty because he took a lot of time to make his mind up.
“I don’t know if he got information from somebody else but I thought the lad went down very easy. That’s disappointing to see but we’ve been told there was shirt pulling. I didn’t see that.”
On the goals scored by Shaun Miller and Jabo Ibehre, he said: “It’s good to have strikers who are starting to score goals. The players understand that they might not get a starting place but they are always going to be a vital cog.
“There’s unity here and it’s an enjoyable group to be around. They’re striving for excellence and they demand the best from each other. We’re competitive and I still think there’s more to come.
“I back them to get us results. I know they’ll empty the tank to get something from games. They can adapt and try different approaches and that shows you’ve got good players who have bought in to what you’re trying to do.
“We have a good focus about the group at the moment and I need to see that because I want to be successful. I want to maximise everything at our disposal and I think the supporters can be very proud of what we’re trying to create.”
On trialist Derek Asamoah, he told us: “Derek is still training with us and he’s been working hard to get his fitness levels up to scratch. He’s seen a very fit group and that has to be matched by the mental toughness already in there as well. He’s working hard and I know he’ll carry that on.
“Our other trialist will be back in Carlisle on Thursday and that shows willingness from him to work at his game and to try to impress us.”
And on players going out the other way, he said: “A deal has been agreed for a player to go out on loan. He was going to go last weekend but the team he’s going to has been knocked out of the FA Cup.
“That leaves them with a blank weekend, so he’ll go to them after that. It’s a player who needs to play games and I know there are still others in the squad who also need game time. They’ve been training exceptionally well but as professionals they know they need that game time.”