Keith Curle with reaction to the Crewe gameManager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the Crewe home game shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.
“There was nothing in the game and I think we played against a decent team,” he said. “If anybody was going to score in the early stages it looked like it was going to be us. With that you have to give credit to their opening goal because I thought it was a good bit of movement, good football and a good finish.
“The sending off rocked us. One thing you don’t want is to give a team a one man advantage when they’re already ahead in the game. It means they can start to stretch you and that did make it difficult for us.
“Once they got their second we didn’t want it to go on to be more because the changing room is very fragile at the moment. I’ve told them not to bring individual excuses to the table. We’ll sit down and we’ll have to go through it again because there are things we still aren’t doing well and that we need to improve on.”
“Our early set pieces looked more dangerous and when we start to put those chances away again it will be when we start to get results,” he added. “I keep repeating it but we need our win and we need it to come quickly. Once that comes the buoyancy will be back and the belief will come back into our play. It’s very basic but we need to do the work, keep clean sheets and stick together to see it through.
“Goals change games and they change the mentality of football clubs and supporters. That’s why we need the win and I know it will come. We’ve got some good players coming back – Jabo Ibehre and Jason Kennedy will be with us for training next week and James Bailey is available again.
“Whoever plays, we need to get goals and we need the victory. Once we get that we can build on it and we can start to push towards the end of the season. This was a game where we created some chances and we had one offside goal in particular which was close. Things are going against us at the moment and this is where we find out who is going to be in that changing room next year.”
“It seems to be that we’re going through the season and at any given time we’re missing crucial players at crucial times,” he said. “That does affect you and, along with that, if you take goals out of any team it does become difficult to replace them.
“We’ve had injuries which have taken goals out of our squad, with the likes of Jason Kennedy and Jabo Ibehre missing, and that’s when you need to come up with a Plan B. We’re bedding some players in now because we know things need to change. We need to put the foundations back in place whereby we can kick on again.
“What we do now is stay with the formations and formulas we know. They brought us success at the beginning of the season and, even with different personnel now in the building, we still feel we have the people to make it work. Goals will come back, we know that, and I’m happy to protect that changing room because it’s going to get us success.
“Ideally, with the position we were in, we’d have kept everybody fit and we’d have made a really good fist of it. Situations have changed, which we’ve had to react to, but whatever we face right now we need to get a win.”
Having enjoyed a bright start the team appeared to lose confidence following the first half Crewe goal and the manager confirmed that is to be expected when a club is enduring a difficult run.
“It’s human nature,” he told us. “It doesn’t just happen at Carlisle United. It happens with Premier League teams when things aren’t going their way. You can tell by body language, demeanour and atmosphere how players are reacting to the game they’re playing in.
“The character is still there in that dressing room but it needs cajoling and tending. I could go in there and ruin everybody’s Mother’s Day by making them come in and have them running up and down. Is that going to help them in the situation we’re in? In my opinion that wouldn’t be the case.
“Yes, I’m disappointed, angry and frustrated, but I back the changing room to turn this round. I won’t drive them into the ground but I will be honest with them. If something is wrong I will be telling them. I know people will ask if they’re still on board with what we’re trying to do but, let me tell you, they’re giving me the full backing I need.”
Speaking more about the run of injuries faced by the squad, he said: “The season throughout has been a challenging environment if you think about it. The next challenge is that one of our most industrious and creative players will be missing through injury.
“Nicky [Adams] will be sent for a scan and we’ll put our faith in what that says, and then what the medical and strength and conditioning departments do. He will be back training and playing as soon as possible.
“If these injuries were down to the training regime or the way we prepare, we’d be able to identify it. Picking up injuries in games is something you can’t legislate for.
“Are we over-training or under-training the group – no. Everything we do is monitored in great detail to make sure we give ourselves the best opportunity. At the moment we’re being hit with everything but it’s going to show exactly what we’ve got inside the football club.
“As I say, some good players are coming back and we need to make it not about how we started the season, but how we end it. We need to make our fortunes change and then we need to push on.
“I’ve lost games as a player and as a manager and all you can do is get back to doing the things that brought you success. We need our big players to start performing and we need every ounce the players have got to help us to get to where we want to be. I like winning games and I will bring that back.”
Another spanner in the works will be a suspension for striker Shaun Miller following his second red card of the campaign in the second half of the game.
“It was a centre forward’s challenge,” Curle said. “It would be easy to lambast the referee and the officials and say it was down to a striker trying to make an impact on the game, and also say that his tackling skills aren’t those of a seasoned defender or midfielder. I’m not going to do that.
“I’m very protective of players, and if I think I can protect a player I will do, but I think it was a cheap sending off. It was needless because it was a tackle which wasn’t needed. It was on the halfway line and it was costly.
“It’s not one we’ll appeal. It’s a punishment we’ll take because we’ve got to understand that, in the context of the game, it was a very cheap sending off.”
And speaking about the fans, he said: “The support they’re giving us is so much appreciated. The environment they make for us to work in is a very good one. I’ve been a player, a coach and a manager where the environment I’ve been working in has been toxic – that isn’t the case here.
“They have their grumbles and they’re understandable because they want us to win as well. They have every right to complain that it isn’t happening for them at the moment. I know there were some grumbles when I brought Jamie Devitt off but we were two down and a man down and he’s only had one-and-a-half training sessions.
“Players have more risk of pulling muscles and things like that when they’re fatigued. I wanted to protect Jamie knowing we’ve still got games to play.”
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.