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MANAGER: A massive platform for any team is a clean sheet

Keith Curle with his reaction to the Yeovil Town victory

12 November 2017

Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the victory over Yeovil Town shortly after the whistle had blown for full time on Saturday afternoon.

“It was a day when the game plan worked,” he said. “We thought we could cause them problems in two ways - by playing through them and by being direct. It was important that we got the balance right and that’s something we’ve been working on.

“We’ve been looking at drawing a team onto us and then working out the best way to exploit the gaps that leaves. The goals were the icing on the cake and they come from an afternoon where we probably didn’t create that many chances.

“I think we made six good chances in the end and we scored four goals from it. That’s the ruthless streak we’re looking for and, again, we got it because we mixed things up and we caused a lot of problems.”

“A massive platform for any team is a clean sheet,” he continued. “People will look at the final score line, and the strikers and midfield players will get the credit. A pillar we’re trying to put in place is that we don’t concede goals, because it gives you a much better chance of winning games when you keep the opposition out.

“Jack [Bonham] made his save early in the game and it was a big moment for him and for us. He’s stepped up for us again when he was needed and that’s important. Along with Shamal [George] I think we have two keepers who are going to go on and have very good careers.

“I thought the back four were outstanding and Clint Hill and Gary Liddle looked like they’d been playing together for a while. Danny Grainger got his goals and assists, which is pleasing, but he also stayed well on top of his defensive responsibilities. James Brown was the same on the other side and that meant we dealt with everything that came our way.”

Speaking more about the formation, he said: “I’m sure some people will have looked at the team sheet before the game and it will have raised a few eyebrows. Some of the names that didn’t get into the 18 will have been a talking point all of its own.

“My job is to pick a match day squad to give us the ammunition I think we’ll need for each particular fixture. The players are fully aware of that and they know I make my selections based on the merits of the ability that’s available.

“The players know they’ve got to be on it every time they come to work because I am prepared to change formations and team selections to get the right mix, as I deem fit.

“As I’ve said before, I have an open-door policy and, if a player isn’t happy, they know they can come and speak to me to find out what I’m thinking. I’ll always give them the reasons but ultimately I pick the team to get the points.”

One of those talking points was the absence of Jamie Devitt, a player who has enjoyed a good run of recent form.

“I think if we said Jamie was surprised to be left out would be an understatement,” he told us. “As we he’s angry and frustrated at not being involved, but he knows where I am, and he knows he can come and see me. We’ll always talk about the decisions I’ve made, but will any player ever change my mind? No.

“I had conversations with him on Friday and today and he knows we can have more. He’s a good professional and he wants to be involved, and he knows he has a big part to play.

“There have been other players who have missed out and who have been hungry to play. Gary Liddle came to see me when he wasn’t in the team when the partnership with Clint Hill and Tom Parkes was first forged.

“He’s a very professional and proud man and all I could tell him was that he was going to get his opportunity. My challenge to him was to tell him to make sure he took it when it came. He’s doing that, so it’ll be the same conversation I’ll have to have with Tom Parkes. If a chance comes for a player, and they take it, chances are they will stay in the team.”

United have been guilty of allowing leads to slip through their fingers through the early stages of the season but this was a day where they rarely looked troubled.

“That’s because we marshalled the threats and we kept the concentration levels high,” he explained. “We looked after our 18-yard box and individuals did their jobs well. Yeovil are a lively side and they will cause some teams problems.

“They play at a good pace, but their downfall has been that they’ve only gained four goals away from home so far this season. Once they start to turn that round they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”

Two other talking points from the game were the early departure of Nicky Adams following a hefty first half challenge and the award of a penalty, following a sending off for defender Bevis Mugabi, which took everybody by surprise.

“Nicky has a jarred knee at the moment, but it’s already starting to settle down,” he said. “Dolly and the doctor have looked at him, and they don’t think it’s anything too sinister, but we’re mindful that you have to give it 48 hours to allow it to settle properly.

“He has an air-flow boot on to help with that and we’ll see what he’s like from there.”

And as for the red card: “I spoke to the fourth official and he said that the assistant referee had spotted a punch inside the box from one of their players. It was spotted as the tackle was going in on Luke Joyce, I believe, and it was inside the area, so it resulted in the penalty.

“It was good from the officials that they saw it and possibly poor discipline from the Yeovil lad. We got the rewards from it and Danny put the penalty away well.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Keith Curle on iFollow United now.   

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