Manager Keith Curle spoke to us about Saturday’s game against Barnet at his Friday afternoon press conference.
“What we’re looking for this weekend is a performance,” he said. “The focus is on us getting a result and a positive approach against Barnet. They’re a team that’s been playing with confidence and they’ve been playing with rotation in midfield.
“They’ve had good threats and options up front and they do play with the freedom to go out and express themselves. They aren’t all just about Akinde and they’ve shown that they can get results with or without him in the team. He’s a good player, but there are others pushing him as well.
“They were beaten by a last-minute goal last week and they’ll be looking for a reaction to that. If they come to Carlisle and get a negative result they’ll have hit one of those stumbling blocks that every team will go through during the course of the season. We’re going through ours now.”
“The stats we’re seeing now do have a detrimental effect because we aren’t winning games,” he added. “As a club, we’ve been through this before whereby we weren’t getting the results we wanted. What we did was find another way of winning games with the attributes we had in the building. That allowed us to the end last season in a successful manner.
“We’re in a situation where we need to find a run of form and start getting positive results again. Every team is the same in that when they aren’t getting the results they want they can blame other people, or blame luck, or things like that, or they can knuckle down and work.
“That’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve been working hard and we’ve been identifying those areas we still feel we can improve on. We look at ourselves first and foremost and we don’t shy away from any of the challenges we face.”
“It isn’t easy when things aren’t going well and when people are talking about and reporting on negativity,” he commented. “What you have to do is accept the criticism and deal with it. There may have been managers in the past who have decided not to speak, but I know I’m a focal point for my team and I’m definitely not going to hide away from it.
“That’s the same message that’s gone through to the players. I don’t want them hiding in their shells and hoping for the best. We’ve all got to be prepared to play our way through this because it’s the only way we’ll put it right.
“As I say, I know there’s negativity around and I can deal with that. We’ve lost the last two games and there are elements within that where individuals aren’t happy with their performance, and collectively they haven’t been happy either.
“Having the players in on Wednesday morning was important because it was about me talking to them to get some of my thoughts across. I don’t want to walk into a changing room and see sad eyes and then start saying the things I think they want to hear.
“They know I’m there for them. They understand fully what I want them to do and what I’m trying to get them to do. Now it’s over to them to make sure they’re physically and mentally prepared to face the challenge. It’s never enjoyable when you’re losing games of football at any level but the only way to get out of it is by putting the work in.”
On what the focus of the last few days has been on, he explained: “We’ve been looking at our decision making because ultimately, we need to make better decisions when we’re out on the pitch, both in defensive and attacking areas.
“We know our strengths and weaknesses and we also know that at the moment we haven’t been doing enough to get results. The important part of my job right now is that I keep my focus on the changing room. They need to know that I believe in them because they’re a very good group of players and they will put this right.
“These players know that sometimes the only way to get a result is to do the ugly, horrible side of the game well enough to earn yourself the right to win games. I want them all to focus on the things which have got them results in the past and which will continue to get them results going forward.
“There are different attributes and skillsets in there which I think will cope with most scenarios we come up against. You need to be mindful of what the opposition has got in their armoury but it’s not always about that. It’s about selecting the players who will best do the job on the day.
“We have enough in this building to win games. I don’t want the players to start relying on good luck to see them through or on saying it’s bad luck when it isn’t going their way. Yes, sometimes things do go for you but the key to that is that you have to have been doing the right things in the first place. That comes through hard work.
“If you look at the squad we’ve assembled, we don’t have a best eleven. We’ve created a squad which will give me everything they’ve got and over the course of the season they will get us to where we need to be. Hopefully the fans will continue to back us and what I will ask is that they get behind their team and give them the best opportunity and platform to perform.
“My forte is getting the best out of the players and that’s what we’re working towards now. Every manager at every club will lose games but the key is staying with what you know will bring the best out of the group. When things aren’t going your way it’s where you find out what type of character you’ve got.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Keith Curle on iFollow United now.