Keith Curle on creating the right type of environmentThe subject of confidence has been much talked about through United’s recent run and manager Keith Curle revealed after Saturday’s win that the onus had been placed on the players during last week’s team analysis sessions to pin down exactly what the word confidence meant to them.
“Confidence is massive in anything you do, we all know that,” he said. “It can be knocked for any number of reasons and that’s why I decided to get the players to tell me what confidence means to them.
“They went through a number of factors and ingredients which they felt helped to nurture and develop confidence and it was then my job to create an atmosphere and environment where those attributes could flourish.
“Let’s face facts, results breed confidence in this industry, but you get results by doing the right things at the right times and by being comfortable with what you’re being asked to do. The players bought into the messages we were trying to get across and you could tell as we went through the week that they were enjoying their work place.”
Speaking about why he felt the group had struggled to get results, he said: “These aren’t excuses, but we’ve had challenges to face and we accept that we haven’t been able to get consistency in our team selection because of different circumstances.
“We’ve also added new faces who needed time to bed in. Add that to a team that isn’t winning games and it can sometimes cause people to retreat into a shell. As I say, the job we’ve had as coaching staff has been to get that out of them and to adapt our style of play to suit the skill sets we have.
“Hopefully Saturday was the building block which will be the start of generating some real momentum as we head into the final stages of the season.”
“I think I said at the weekend that it wasn’t a classic game by any standard, but it was a very professional performance,” he commented. “It was about fulfilling roles and responsibilities, getting a foothold in the game and building momentum.
“I thought we looked comfortable even before they went down to ten men and that’s testament to the players. There was and is nervousness about the group, because of the results we’ve been getting, and that’s understandable. We worked on a wide range of things through last week and we reminded the players that they’ve still got the freedom to express themselves, as long as the time is right.”
On the return of midfielder Jason Kennedy to the match day 18, he told us: “I was close to putting him on but you have to listen to the medical advice. Their guidance was that the maximum we could give him was an hour.
“I know that if I’d put him on at any stage, particularly from the start, that I’d have been tempted to keep him on. There was an opportunity to use him for 45 minutes, if we felt we needed it, but the good thing is that he now gets another week of solid training which can only be good for everyone.
“I know both he and Jabo Ibehre will be chomping at the bit. Jabo was frustrated when he picked up his injury because he felt he was getting back to full speed. We’re going to need him and it’s fantastic that he will also get another full week of work on the training pitch.”
“With Nicky [Adams], he’s been told it’s a five week injury,” he revealed. “Having said that, he phoned me last Saturday and said that he’d be back in three weeks. Knowing him as I do, I certainly wouldn’t bet against him.
“The good thing is that we have good players available who all want to do their bit. Samir Nabi came on and showed us exactly that. It was also great to see George Waring getting chances inside the box, because that’s where we want him to be.
“Samir is an attacking midfielder who likes to play off the striker. He’s got a natural ability to land on the ball and he’s added to the skill sets we have. At exactly the right time of the season we’re getting a competitive edge in the squad. We’ve had our barren period and we’re looking to push on and I can guarantee that every one of our players is going to have some part to play in getting us to where we want to be.”
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