United boss Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the home victory over Cheltenham Town shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.
“There were some difficult decisions to be made when I was naming the team because we have some good players at our disposal,” he said. “Part of my job is to make decisions I think are going to be right to get us three points on a Saturday.
“It’s a squad game, and my job within that is to make sure I pick the team which is going to get us the win. There are going to be disappointed and unhappy players because they want to play, and that’s the environment we’ve created.
“But, within that, I’ve got to be brave and make the decisions I want to make. The role of the players within that is to make sure when they get the opportunity they give me everything they’ve got and I thought they did that today.
“The performance level, the application and the attitude towards the challenge that was thrown down to them was excellent. The important thing was the mindset of the group. Just before they left the dressing room for kick off I reminded them that they’d had a fantastic result and performance at Fleetwood and a battling win at Cambridge, and that this was going to be another test.
“The expectancy level around Carlisle was that we would roll Cheltenham over and that can be a dangerous attitude to have. What you have to demand is that the basics are done well and you have to have given enough information so that the players felt comfortable with the way we wanted to play the game.”
Speaking more about the level of anticipation from the fans, he said: “We got good results against Fleetwood and Cambridge away from home and everybody expected us to win this one easily.
“There’s a challenge there by itself because you’ve got to make sure the good habits are still there. The players accepted the challenge and they were clinical when we got good opportunities to score.
“We got the goals when we put them under pressure which is pleasing. I thought we could have scored the third goal in the first half when they made a couple of great blocks. We started the game well and we looked dangerous from set pieces and in open play. We had different options with a physical presence and good movement. We were causing them problems in attacking areas and I like that.”
One of the most pleasing things from my point of view is the clean sheet ...
“One of the most pleasing things from my point of view is the clean sheet,” he added. “It was a team clean sheet today and confidence can grow from that. Whoever my defenders are I want clean sheets. If you’re getting those you’re giving yourselves a real chance to get the results you need.
“We accepted the challenge of what they had to throw at us, we had contingency plans in place knowing they were going to be direct and get the ball forward quickly. The way they wanted the game played was they wanted that confrontation. Every time they brought a player on he was bigger than the player they brought off, and they started with a team full of giants. That’s going to cause teams problems if they don’t deal with it.
“We needed to keep a high line and make sure we didn’t invite the pressure. When we did compete for headers we had good cover and defenders were covering their inside shoulder. It’s basic defending but they are good principles and good habits to have.”
As to whether or not there can be any debate over the first goal being attributed to Tom Miller, he told us: “It was an attempt which was on target so in my book it belongs to Tom. If it’s on target it doesn’t matter if it takes a deflection or it’s diverted into the goal, it’s one for the player who had the initial contact.
“He’s a goal threat, he has a forward thinking mentality and he can be very proud of how he’s started the season. He’s showing defensive knowledge, bravery and he’s an integral part of what we want to achieve. There’s more to come from him and that can only be good for everybody.
“He’s getting into the right areas and his tally of goals and assists is a personal target he’s set for himself.”
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