Keith Curle with his reaction to the Morecambe gameManager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the draw with Morecambe shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.
“We created enough chances to win the game comfortably,” he said. “If you don’t take your chances it’s always going to be difficult. We showed an edge of nerves about us when we conceded the goal. It’s a challenge for the changing room now because they’ve not had this before.
“However, we’re 26 games in and it’s only three defeats. That isn’t bad. The test of character for the players today was the fact they were going into the game with back-to-back defeats. That was something they had to deal with and it was new territory for them.
“The last thing they needed was to concede the goal when they did. If we’d scored first or got an early reply it would have settled everybody down. There were still a lot of positives and you have to say that the keeper made some great saves from the chances we created.
“Derek [Asamoah] will be disappointed with the two chances he had, and we had some others we could have finished, but it was almost total domination of possession and that’s another plus point for us.
“The biggest factor to come out of it all for me was the way the fans applauded our players off the pitch at half time. That showed we have some unity here and the crowd are a massive part of that. We know we need to get the next win, but it’s coming, because we’re creating chances and we’re still playing some good football.”
“We’re obviously very disappointed with the manner of their goal,” he told us. “It comes from our set piece, we get caught on the break and we’ve been talking all week about stopping crosses into our box from wide areas. They probably had three attacks during the game and scored from one of them. As I say, we’ve worked a lot on stopping crosses and the first one they put into our box ends up as a goal.
“It’s all character building and what we have to do is make sure people are learning from their mistakes. Things aren’t going our way at the moment but the pleasing thing is we’re sticking together.
“We are in a nervous environment at the moment because the supporters know we’re in an automatic spot. They’re desperate for us to kick on and do well and that’s fantastic to know. We’re a good team with good players who can deliver.”
Speaking about the changes made to the starting line up, he said: “Sometimes you have to react to the injury and illness situation you’re faced with. Jabo Ibehre and Michael Raynes have been missing with illness. I spoke to Michael on Friday and he really wanted to be involved.
“He told me that in his opinion he would be able to get through 45 minutes so I decided to leave him as the option of being used in the second half, if he was needed. I slotted Macaulay [Gillesphey] into the left side centre back role, which is where I think his future will lie, and that presented an opportunity for Gary Liddle to step in.
“He looked comfortable and confident on the ball, which was pleasing. Alexander McQueen has been chomping at the bit for his chance, and I could have played Tom Miller on that side. Alex was there to get forward and use his explosive pace to push them back. Tom was asked to go up against Kevin Ellison and also to back up Nicky Adams.
“We left Shaun Brisley out of the squad because I didn’t want to have three centre backs on the bench. With Mark Ellis having the versatility to play in a full back position, and having different dynamics to Shaun Brisley, two out of three were always going to be on the bench, so one had to miss out.
“Credit to Morecambe for the way they dug in, but they rode their luck as well. It’ll be interesting to see what the possession stats are because we had a lot of the ball. We could have moved it quicker and used it in a more clinical manner but we got more people into dangerous areas in the second half. These players want to do the right thing and they’re determined to get on another run.”
Speaking about a seventeenth goal of the season for Charlie Wyke, he said: “He keeps scoring goals. He had chances today and I thought the keeper made a great save in the six yard box. I’m sure most of us were thinking it was a goal.
“There was another chance at the back stick where I thought he took the wrong option and he should have taken it first time. It doesn’t affect him because he kept going and he got his goal.”
“I’ve told the players to remember that our last run started with a couple of draws,” he said. “We’re in a good place, the changing room was hurting because they’d lost back to back games and that’s a good thing to have. It makes it easier for the players to work hard because we know what’s there.”
And on a first appearance for the club for Gary Liddle, he said: “I thought he was assured, confident, competent and he’s got the ability to step in. He’s reliable, consistent and dependable and they’re the three attributes I think as a defender you need.
“Gary has got the ability to be an accomplished performer in whatever position he plays. He’ll be a threat at set pieces and he’s got good versatility.”