United manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the weekend’s away draw at Morecambe shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.
“The players emptied the tank today,” he said. “We were caught a little bit short in the first half because they flooded the midfield with five, sometimes six players, so we had to nullify that.
“I thought we had the better chances and more dominance, but we lacked the ability to create that opening in the final third. People get sick of me saying this, but if you go back a couple of years we were always able to force a goal.
“It’s a situation where we’re crying out for players like Nicky Adams and Jason Kennedy. These are their type of games. Sometimes that isn’t down to the individual qualities, but the fact that they have the fundamentals in place to be able to give us foundations to build from as a team. We lacked that platform to get into the final third then, when we did, we didn’t have the quality.”
“Defensively we looked sound enough,” he continued. “Some of our play was good but some of our fundamentals weren’t there, which meant we couldn’t get the momentum to get us consistently up the pitch and be more creative in and around their goal.
“Effort, commitment and application were all there in abundance. Now we just need a little bit more quality in certain areas. The lads are deflated, disappointed and gutted, but they’re professional.
“They’ve drawn a game which they could potentially have won, but they also realise they need to do better. As much as the players are representative of the football club, the supporters and the shirt they wear, they’re representative of myself as well.”
On how the game panned out, he commented: “Morecambe flooded the defence and midfield areas in the first half. I think they had one shot and one cross in the first half, and even though we didn’t test their goalkeeper that much in open play, we were able to compete.
“As I say, we just didn’t have the qualities that were needed to get us where we needed to be in the final third. Luke Joyce coming on at half time got us on the front foot and it was pleasing to see Mike Jones having three shots on target.
“Jamal Campbell-Ryce came on and gave us a new impetus, and Jamie Devitt got us the goal, but I just think we needed that little bit more. Jamie has got those qualities, he’s a match changer and potential match winner. I wouldn’t mind a team full of Jamie Devitt’s.”
And on United’s penalty claim for a challenge from Barry Roche on Ashley Nadesan, he said: “I asked the fourth official about the penalty claim we had, but he said he didn’t see anything.
“I asked him about a few incidents, because the fourth officials are supposed to be there to help, but on the four occasions I asked for his opinion he said he didn’t see anything ... four times.
“The goalkeeper came out and made contact with the ball, but as Ashley was going to retrieve it he dragged him down. We aren’t getting those decisions, but we won’t blame the officials.”
With over 1,800 United fans making over 50% of the crowd, the manager heaped praise once more on the very vocal Blue Army.
“The support we had here today was excellent,” he said. “I never shy away from the pride I have in representing this football club.
“Sometimes people don’t understand how difficult it is to be a manager, but I’ll never neglect the supporters and I’m always very appreciative of their support.
“I’m disappointed we couldn’t give them a win because they turned out in their numbers. They stayed, they applauded the players off, and they understand that although things aren’t going our way, it isn’t through lack of effort or desire.”
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