United manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the draw with Luton Town on Saturday afternoon shortly after the full-time whistle had blown.
“It hurts having to listen to another club celebrate on our patch, but as I said to the players in the dressing room, the performance today was about fine margins,” he said. “One thing we must retain going forward, even though we can’t now make the play-offs, are the professional standards, character and focus you need whenever you represent this football club.
“We have two games left and my level of preparation and planning won’t change. I expect the same from the players.”
On not quite managing to turn a good performance into a victory, he commented: “I can safely say we have a good bunch of lads who have given everything, but we came up a little bit short with our quality in the final third.
“These players are in that changing room for a reason and that’s because they always give committed performances, whatever the result. I thought we started the game very well and I think that’s because they thought they were going to outnumber us in midfield.
“The way we lined up meant we were able to find space, but they showed more dynamics when they switched to a four against four in the middle areas. I thought Clint Hill and Mark Ellis were exceptional and they can be very proud of their performances.”
“From an attacking point of view, we had opportunities to deliver the ball into the box, with quality, but we just came up short with that,” he told us. “Arguably the five or six players who weren’t available for us would have added what we needed to open a few more doors.
“When you look at where we are now, to operate in the upper reaches of the division we needed to turn more of the draws we had into wins. The lads are in the dressing room feeling very disappointed because their focus has been on achieving targets.
“The pleasing thing is that they haven’t backed away from the challenges and that shows that we have some good foundations in place.
“One of the demands I’ve just left the changing room with is that they make sure they do not now drop their standards. I know that won’t happen because these lads are very respectful of their profession and of the club they represent.”
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