Keith Curle with initial reaction to the Doncaster home gameManager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the home victory over table toppers Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night.
“The easy thing to do after what happened on Saturday would have been to hide away,” he said. “Part of my job on Monday was to identify the areas of concern and to make sure we’d tightened things up. It didn’t take long to review the footage of the Blackpool game and that allowed me to tell the lads that the things we did wrong simply couldn’t be allowed to happen again.
“I deliberately didn’t dismantle the dressing room at full time at the weekend even though the type of character I am was telling me to go in there and wipe the floor with them. Again, and put quite simply, that level of performance from one of my teams isn’t good enough.
“I decided I had to keep my powder dry because I knew we had a big game coming up tonight. We stayed calm and over the last couple of days we’ve simplified everything - from roles and responsibilities to expectations and demands.
“We gave them a formation and a platform which we felt would cause upset to Doncaster, and we changed the mindset of the players to make sure they went out there fully believing in themselves and what they were going to do.”
“It was a night where we had to show respect to a team who are top of the table for a reason, but we also had to do the work to allow us to play our game,” he commented. “We didn’t want it to be a football match with both teams rolling it around and expressing themselves. This was about getting close to them and stopping them from showing everyone what a good team they can be.
“The pleasing thing is that we upset them for the most part. We didn’t allow them to get any rhythm going. That was an important performance because it came off the back of that poor result on Saturday.
“That result hurt me personally because as a staff and group of players we didn’t see it coming. We talked about it but, as a dressing room, we parked it and we very quickly moved on.
“The key to any poor performance is how you react to it, and these lads have reacted to it in the best way they could. They’ve demanded a good level of application and desire from each other and they’ve produced the goods. It’s that type of environment and approach which will help us to become successful.”
“We needed a collective and unified reaction tonight and we got that,” he told us. “We had to change our tactics because we’ve predominantly been playing with two up front, with different variations at the back.
“I knew we needed this to be an aggressive encounter whereby a good team was coming to our turf and we were going to knock them about. I wanted us to be a wounded animal which was showing the hunger to get up and go again. Doncaster needed to know that they were going to have to fight tooth and nail for everything they got from the very first minute.
“The players didn’t let me down today and I think that was massively important. They bought into what was required and they got the rewards. Training on Monday and Tuesday was about getting in people’s faces and there were some good efforts from players in that dressing room.”
There’ll be more reaction from the manager to this game on the official website on Wednesday morning.