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MANAGER: They're probably the three best players I've ever rested

Keith Curle on taking advice and picking the best team for the job

13 August 2017

Manager Keith Curle spoke more about his team selection following yesterday’s hard-earned away victory against Cambridge as he confirmed again that every member of his squad has to be ready to go as he prepares them to face different challenges this season.

“We’re no different to a lot of football clubs who lost their first game,” he said. “There was disappointment there and we wanted to put it right. We’ve shown over the last two games that we’re ready for the challenges and the win will bring more confidence to an already confident dressing room.

“Part of putting it right comes down to the selections I make on the day. We had a fantastic victory on Tuesday and Mike Jones, Jamie Devitt and Shaun Miller were key components of that victory.

“I left out players who are probably considered as mainstays but there’s no point having phyios and strength and conditioning coaches if you aren’t going to take their advice on board.

“We have professional people at the club who highlight when players who have possibly been missing for a while need to rest and, if we take Mike Jones as an example, he’s had two sets of 90 minutes then a full game with extra time.

“The signs were there that the lad needed a break and statistically it was showing up that we had to be careful with him. I told him when I picked the team that I can’t go 40-odd games without him so this was an opportunity for him to take a breather. Again, the evidence suggested he needed it.”

“I know he’s bitterly disappointed because he wants to play games and he wants to represent this club,” he added. “He’s in a period where he’s making up for lost time and that’s when it’s over to me to make tough decisions for the betterment of the squad.

Every game and every fixture will have different scenarios which have to be dealt with ...

Keith Curle

“Every game and every fixture will have different scenarios which have to be dealt with. That’s where I will do my job and pick the best team available. The challenge for me within that is to show that I’m brave enough to rest the likes of Jones, Devitt and Shaun Miller, knowing that fans, media and a lot of other people will possibly be surprised.

“I go home and analyse my decision making and I have to say that Mike Jones, Shaun Miller and Jamie Devitt are possibly the three best players I’ve ever rested! However, the success of the team is more important than any individual and there will be no resentment or ill feeling from them because everyone in our dressing room knows that.

“There was rationale between all of the selections made. We were never going to be allowed to get the ball down and pass it around and we had to deal with two centre forwards who are man mountains. You have to stop them from getting on top of you as much as you can, and that’s why I went with what I felt were the right players for the job.”

“Players know I don’t pick teams which are always based on who did well the week before,” he concluded. “It comes down to who will be best suited to do the job we need them to do.

“Those three players not being involved is bound to be talked about because they were three of the best performers on the pitch on Tuesday. Again, I knew we were going to need a different approach against a very physical side.

“As I say, I have no doubt they’ll all have been disappointed but they won’t get off the bus. They know it’s a squad game and it’s about getting success together. Every decision I make is with that in mind.”

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