Keith Curle on what is an important week of preparationUnited manager Keith Curle spoke more today about what needs to be done as he keeps his focus set firmly on the play-offs.
“The early part of this week will be used to analyse the good and bad points from the last few weeks to help us to build on the messages we feel we need to get across,” he said. “As I said at the weekend, people are bound to ask questions when a team is going through a run like this and that’s why it’s important for us to stay focused and make sure we do everything we can to get the win we all need.
“There are seven games to go and a win needs to come quickly, there is no doubt about that. When the first win comes it will be followed by another one, and another one. Then you’re ending the season on a high, which is what you need to do to going into the play-offs.”
“We know what we want to do but we accept that we might have to change the philosophy, depending on player availability and different situations within games,” he added. “We might just have to bang it if we can’t play through them and go as big as we can and as physical as we can. It isn’t the ideal way but there are always different ways to open doors.
“I was no different to anyone else on Saturday. You turn up today and the sun is shining, there’s a fantastic playing surface to play on and we started the game reasonably well. All we needed from that was for something to go our way.
“We didn’t get it, we had a couple of goals ruled out for offside and a couple of decisions which didn’t go our way. Then we were looking for a reaction and a response and we got a player sent off.
“That meant we were down to ten men against a team who have the ability to keep possession. They had the one man advantage and that always makes it a difficult afternoon. We’re now in a situation where we have to get points if we want to end the season on a high. That’s what the work we do will be about now.”
Speaking about the recent new additions to the squad, he said: “With the new signings we’ve brought in we’ve tried to cover all bases. We’ve got players going down like flies and if we’re in the play-offs we don’t want to be short on numbers.
“If we’d been able to have a consistent level of selection in the team it would have made my job a lot easier. Players do lose confidence when results aren’t going their way, that’s human nature.
“At the start of the season we had a squad of 21 players and we went undefeated for a long time, so the policy was working. If we were able to have anything like a cup run in January we would have been able to continue to add the qualities we were looking for. We were looking at players who ended up in the higher division so we were looking in the right places.
“We added Samir [Nabi] and Ben Tomlinson last week and they will get their chance. Ben needs more training sessions to continue to work on his fitness, but he’s not too far away, and Samir was waiting for international clearance papers to come through. We thought we had that, with everything lodged at the FA, but they told us they needed another piece of paper from India. Fortunately that has now come through and the player is in a position where he get his head down and stake a claim.”
“The pleasing thing is that we’ve got good players coming back,” he commented. “We’re going to be disappointed because the likelihood is that we’re going to be without Nicky Adams for a period of time.
“He’s been a very industrious and creative player for us. We’re at a time where we need goals to come and one of our most likely creative players is going to be out injured. With the amount of games Nicky has played this season it would have been nice to have had the option to give him a rest. We haven’t been able to do it because of the results and his ability.
“This isn’t me bringing excuses, this is me being realistic. We’ve had players missing at key points, and some still are, which has interrupted us and stopped the flow and fluidity of what we’re trying to do.
“However, I’ve still got belief because I know I can turn teams round. I won’t lose that belief. I’ve got good principals and a professional outlook on the game. I know I’ve got a changing room that is lacking in confidence, but we’ve got players coming back and we need to get that momentum.”
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