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MANAGER: We gave them a head start and we looked disjointed

11 February 2017

Keith Curle on the home defeat against Blackpool

Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the home defeat against Blackpool shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.

“We all know that goals change games but, I have to say that mistakes change games as well,” he said. “They were glaring mistakes this time and we got punished for them. Blackpool were very clinical in the 18-yard box but, let’s be honest, we gift-wrapped the opportunities for them.

“We gave them a head start and we looked disjointed. Some of the defending was pathetic and we will never be happy with that. If you make mistakes when you’re trying to do the right things there’s a level of acceptance. If it happens when you’re doing the wrong things then we’re going to fall out. The players understand that.

“The pleasing thing is that the mistakes they made are easy to remedy because the lads know that if they keep doing that kind of thing they won’t be in my dressing room for very long.”

“The players have held their hands up, which is all well and good, but now I want to see a reaction,” he continued. “I’ve told the players they have a great opportunity to respond on Tuesday night against a side which is top of the league and playing well.

“Doncaster have set the benchmark for where we want to get to and we know we can’t afford to make silly mistakes against them. As I say, it’s now about how we learn from it. We’ll come together as a group and we’ll work on the areas we need to improve on. We’re still a good team but we’ve been unhinged because of the mistakes we made.”

“Funnily enough I had a song stuck in my head which was doing my head in,” he commented. “It’s by the the Rag and Bone Man, and it goes - I’m only human after all, don’t put the blame on me.

“I told the players about it after the game and there are certain lines within that song which are very apt for the situation we put ourselves in today. Another line goes – look in the mirror, what do you see, do you see clearly, or are you deceived, don’t put the blame on me. That pretty much sums it up.”

When asked why it had been such a bad day at the office, he said: “What we had today was nervousness around the stadium. It’s the first time we’ve had a big vocal travelling support, since the Hartlepool game, and we had a few players making their home debuts.

“We looked tentative. You can be nervous but you still know when to make the right decisions in terms of passing and playing, and when to go direct, or when to get the ball clear of your lines.

“Everyone was desperate to do well and we actually had the first clear-cut chance of the day. We needed that first goal to settle us down. The ball bounced to Jamie Devitt just eight yards out and people are saying he was unlucky. I say that comes down to poor technique.

“If you don’t hit the target from there you have to ask why. That was followed by the mistakes we made and sometimes you do get away with them, but not for us on this occasion. We were exposed today and we’ve deservedly had a slap in the face as a football club.”

“We don’t want to hide behind what happened today,” he insisted. “We made elementary mistakes which cost us goals and we weren’t as fluid going forward as we want to be. If you play against a good team and you’re off your game in any way you will get slapped. The fact is we didn’t deserve to get anything out of this game.

“As a defender there are basics to your job you have to complete. It doesn’t matter if you’re slightly out of position or not. Our decision making defensively was wrong and we played too deep for too long.”

“This is where the unity within the changing room and the football club is vitally important, because the players have been exposed in this game,” he said. “Now it’s time to galvanise, regenerate the enthusiasm and get on with it again. I’m sure there’ll be more slaps on the face but there’ll also be kisses on the cheeks as well.

“I back the fans to turn up in their numbers again even though they’ve been slapped in the face as well. They won’t have enjoyed it, but we haven’t either.

“The debrief after the game was slightly muted because we had to have a big smiling face from the drug testing people in the changing room with us. I don’t think that’s right at all. I shouldn’t have to address the players with civilians in the changing room.

“Personally I think that has got to change because it’s a professional environment and I need to be able to do my job. I fully respect and value the job they have to do, but the way they feel they have to be involved in that situation is wrong.

“There needs to be a ten-minute grace period where I am allowed to do the job I have to do. There is a real privacy issue with the way they think they have to do their part of it all at the moment.”

United PlayerHD subscribers can see an interview with Keith Curle now. Click HERE to go to the PlayerHD platform. Follow the same link for more information on United PlayerHD, and to subscribe.

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