United manager Keith Curle gave us his thoughts on what he expects to be a tough encounter as the team travel to play their first away league game of the new campaign at Cambridge United this weekend.
“I think this will be one of those physical encounters where we will have to deal with that side of the game properly,” he said. “There will be a lot of individual challenges across the pitch and we’ll have to earn the right to do what we want to do.
“As a manager and group of players Cambridge are suited to playing in confrontational games so we’ll have to make sure we don’t take a backward step. We’ll do what we need to do and then we’ll look to get the ball into the areas where we want to play our game.”
“I know the manager well,” he added. “I was part of a management team which signed him twice because he’s a man who has good values and standards. He has a winning mentality and he’ll make sure his team thinks and acts the same way as he does.
“He’s made some good acquisitions through the summer and I’m sure they’ll be looking to bounce back from the defeats they’ve had this week. We’re no different. We want points on the board as soon as possible so it’ll be two sides who will look to attack.
“I think they’ll have a style of play which a lot of teams will find hard to cope with. We have to make sure we’re not one of them. They’ll be a threat at set pieces and it’ll be interesting to see how they approach the game.
“They have two big lads up front and they can be a potent force when they get the ball forward quickly. I think they’ll have an eye on our ability to get the ball down and the way we pass and play. They won’t want us doing that on their own patch so I think they’ll set up to stop us from playing our game.
“Every manager in the country is in this business to gain points and the two on show on Saturday will be pushing for the victory. It wouldn’t surprise me if this game ended 0-0, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if it was 4-4 at the final whistle either. Both teams like to attack so we’ll go into the game aware of that as we look for another good performance level.”
One very familiar face in the Cambridge line up this Saturday will be that of stiker Jabo Ibehre who reached hero status during his two-year stay in Cumbria as the Blue Army took him to their hearts.
“I’ve got a lot of time for Jabo both as an individual and as a professional,” Curle said. “He was a cornerstone of us rebuilding our football club and he helped us to instil the professional standards and approach which were needed to put us on an upward path.
“The signing of Jabo was a standard bearer for a lot of positive things which then happened at this football club. He was a really positive presence in the dressing room because he led by example and he became one of the go-to players for anyone who needed to raise any issues.
He was never a screamer or a shouter but he set an excellent standard. He gave us everything and I think he enjoyed his time here ...
“He was never a screamer or a shouter but he set an excellent standard. He gave us everything and I think he enjoyed his time here.”
With United fans making up almost a third of the attendance at Fleetwood on Tuesday the manager confirmed that it no longer surprises him to see when he sees the United fans turn out in large numbers, wherever the club goes.
“There were nearly 600 fans there on Tuesday but it seemed like a lot more,” he commented. “It definitely sounded like there was a lot more than that. I thought it looked more like a home game and it was excellent to see.
“That’s why the players showed so much appreciation to them after the full time whistle. Most of them stayed behind and that tells me we have real unity growing, and I like that. They want their team to do well and the players want to do well for them. It’s a good relationship to have.”
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