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MANAGER: We lacked quality in the final third

Keith Curle with reaction to the Morecambe home draw

25 November 2017

Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the home draw with Morecambe shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.

“They’re a difficult team to play against but we made it hard for ourselves,” he said. “If the ball doesn’t stick up front they try to suck you in and they have good counter-attacking pace. The ball didn’t stick for us today and that gave them something to work at.

“We didn’t use the ball well in their final third at all. In fact, I thought we were poor as an attacking unit. We had no urgency when we got to good areas and that means you’re then relying on the resilience of your defence and the discipline of your midfield to get locked on and to stop them from moving the ball quickly.

“When we did get into the final third we didn’t have the quality we needed to really cause them problems. That’s because we consistently failed to hold onto the ball. We were too loose and hesitant and that affected the way we wanted to do things. The important thing is that we didn’t lose and, as we’ve seen before, good runs can start from a draw.”

“You’re always going to cause yourself a problem if you come up against a side who build their philosophy on counter-attacking and you don’t keep hold of the ball,” he added. “As soon as there’s a change in possession they get forward and support it quickly.

“We gave them opportunity to do that by not being clever enough when we did have the ball. That was the frustrating aspect because we had the chance to get into good areas and we let them go. Even after Kelvin [Etuhu] had scored, we had a good period and that was when we needed to score again.

“It was a great strike from him and we’ve been encouraging all of our midfield players to do that. Along with that, if they do go for goal we’ve been telling them to make sure it’s on target because you are never going to score if you’re sending it into the stands.

“I’m pleased for him and it was nice to get 90 minutes of him. There was another good introduction for John O’Sullivan getting a decent run of time, so there are positives to take out of it. John has been chomping at the bit and hopefully he’ll be ready to help us through a very busy period.

“The negative is that we didn’t have any fluency in our play. We weren’t moving things around enough but, even though things didn’t go our way, we came away with a point.”

On the late penalty decision, which saw former-United loanee Adam Campbell hit the bar from the spot, he said: “You could arguably say it was justice that he missed. From where I was, and from the reaction of our players, it wasn’t a penalty.

“I spoke to the referee afterwards and he said that he’d given an honest decision based on what he’d interpreted the situation to be. The powers at the FA will no doubt look at it and come up with a decision we will all have to abide by.

“The potential problem now is that the lad didn’t score the penalty. So, will they look at it and review it anyway? That’s something I’ll have to investigate and I’m hoping that it’s the award of the penalty that sparks the review.

“I’ll certainly review it myself from all angles and I’ll find out if I’m justified in feeling that the referee misinterpreted the situation. That will go onto my referee’s report as well, but I do need to review it first.”

Speaking about the use of Mike Jones in the left wing role, he explained: “He played a good number of games in that position for Oldham and I thought he showed real quality in the early part of the game. His movement and delivery were very good.

“We wanted him doing that, with Reggie Lambe doing the same on the other side. We found as the game was going on that Morecambe were getting more numbers into the middle of the park, so we had to change it and go to a 4-3-3.

“I spoke to the players after the game and they all know there was a result there to be had. There’s an element of disappointment for them, because they didn’t do it, but the important thing sometimes is not to let your emotions get in the way of what you want to say to people.

“I kept it short and I’ll have a calm down now. I’ll review the video and I’ll look at where some of the simple and basic mistakes were made which stopped us from playing our game. Arguably you can say that we didn’t actually do enough to win the game, and that’s something we aren’t happy with at all.

“Morecambe tested us and stretched us and their game plan of catching us on the counter was aided by our inability to keep the ball, and the wastefulness we showed when we did have it. A Jim Bentley team is never going to go anywhere and roll over because he’s got himself a very professional outfit there. They battle and scrap and we didn’t do anywhere near enough to make them feel uncomfortable.”

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

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