Keith Curle with reaction to the Barnet home gameManager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the home draw with Barnet at his post-match press conference on Saturday afternoon.
“I felt we did enough to win the game,” he said. “I thought we had some good opportunities but Barnet are a good team. They play well away from home and the big lad, Akinde, suits their style of play.
“They counter-attack really well and they press from deep. They’re used to defending deep so it didn’t really affect their shape too much when they had the man sent off. One of their biggest threats is when the opposition has got the ball on the edge of their 18-yard box. If you lose it in that area they will hit Akinde and get players alongside him very quickly.
“We dealt with that and we started to get on top. Jason [Kennedy] had a great chance. If that had gone in it could have potentially been two-nil at half time. Another set-piece goal worked for us again and we looked back to being a threat with two up front and getting balls in wide areas. We got a good number of balls into the box in the second half but we just couldn’t quite get another goal.”
“Tom Miller had a great chance after the break and we had a couple of half chances which we could have put away with a bit more quality,” he told us. “I know people are starting to look at the fact we haven’t won in five games, but I can assure you that we all want to win.
“We’ve been competitive in these games but there’s been a run of things which haven’t gone our way. Earlier in the season they were going for us, and I know that will come again. The belief is still there in the group because we absolutely want to be winning games.
“Numbers are depleted to help us with that but that’s because we’ve done some manoeuvring to allow us to bring new bodies in. The spine of the squad is here so we just need to build on that and add a few different skill sets.”
“We’ve probably lost another two players to injury in Shaun Brisley and Jason Kennedy, and that will affect the group,” he confirmed. “Shaun jarred his knee and felt something. He doesn’t know if it’s related to an injury he had previously, where he’s tweaked a ligament or something in his knee.
“Because of the numbers in our squad we took the precaution straight away to take him off. Jason [Kennedy] had an injection in his groin last week and that has flared up again. A squad of 16 or 17 is now down to 14 or 15, so it’s looking like I’ll be having a busy few days ahead.
“The injury to Shaun showed the importance of Gary Liddle because we just slid him back in there. He’ll probably be playing up front next week. Gary is a good footballer with good understanding of different roles and responsibilities within any team framework. I like what he brings to the squad. Dolly will now assess the players and we’ll go from there.”
“Hopefully Mike Jones will be back and available next week, which is a big plus, and within three to four weeks we should have Danny Grainger back in the mix as well,” he continued. “Overall we’re going through a sticky period but we still believe we can get the job done. Things aren’t going our way inside the 18-yard box at the moment, but that will turn for us if we keep doing things right.”
Speaking about the penalty decision given against Tom Miller, he said: “I thought the penalty decision was weak and I didn’t think their lad should have been sent off either. You’d like to say that anywhere else on the pitch the challenge on their lad wouldn’t even be a free kick.
“As I say, the sending off wasn’t a sending off, in my opinion. Raynsey [Michael Raynes] has cleared the ball and the lad has made a genuine attempt for it. I’d have been disappointed if it was one of ours. I’d be very surprised if they don’t appeal and, if they do, I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t get rescinded.
“With the softness of the sending off you do start to think that they’re going to get something. I’m angry and frustrated, not so much because of the result, but because the biggest disappointment for me came after the game when I was walking up the tunnel. The officials were walking in front of me and they were laughing at the fact that some booing noises were coming from the crowd. I think their behaviour after the game was unacceptable.
“Suddenly, when they know I’ve seen them laughing about it, they want to go all serious and they’re being mindful of my language. I know what I said to them because I think what they did is unprofessional and disrespectful to us as a football club. Our supporters are booing them, they’ve got the attention for a reason, and it isn’t a good reason.
“I had to say something to them. I asked them if they understood why the crowd had reacted like that. It was because their performance didn’t warrant any applause. The job they did on the afternoon wasn’t good enough.
“If their professional body thinks that behaviour is acceptable I’ll be surprised, because I think it’s massively disrespectful. I don’t think it’s right to walk into the football domain when you’ve just come off the pitch and show contempt.”