United boss Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the defeat against Lincoln City shortly after full time on Monday afternoon.
“I thought we gave a good account of ourselves in the first half,” he said. “I was disappointed with the goal we conceded because it was something we’d picked up about them doing before the game.
“We’d given the players enough information to warrant a better response to a quick free kick which was slid down the side. It’s a learning curve about taking on board information, but overall it was a decent performance.
“You can do everything apart from go out onto the pitch and tell them exactly where to stand. You can give them the format of what Lincoln try to do because they’ve done it consistently before.
“It was little bit naïve of the referee not to see the block that stopped people from staying with runners, and things like that, but we have to be more alert to situations of that nature. It came just before half time as well, and I didn’t think there was anything in the game at that point.
“If anything, we shaded possession in the first half and it was a bit more cut and thrust after the break. Arguably you’d say the difference between the teams was that their forward play, ball retention and first contact were better than ours on the day.”
“I don’t think either team caused the other goalkeeper too many problems,” he added. “That was down to the organisation from both managers. We had two shots at goal, but we did have other opportunities where we didn’t get the first contact we needed inside their area.
“We had a lot of set pieces and balls into the box, but we didn’t make them count. We had the momentum when the penalty was awarded and that could have been a turning point in the game.
“If we’d got it and scored we’d have had them on the back foot. It’s one of those where if I tell you what I think of the officiating I could get myself into trouble. There’s been talk from the lads about what the linesman has said, and what the referee has said, but it’s been and gone now.
“What I’ve learned from experience is that going to speak to the referee or the assessor doesn’t change the result. It also won’t change my opinion of that particular referee.”
On the game management used by the opposition, he told us: “They used it well at every opportunity. There should have been more time added on, but you can call it gamesmanship, game management or game understanding, or whatever you want.
“They’ve got that in abundance and if you start to get any fluidity or momentum they go over and they know how to waste time. It’s all part and parcel of the game.”
With the eight-game unbeaten run having come to an end, he commented: “What I told the lads at full time was that this was the one defeat we could afford in the run-in. The case now is that we need four wins.
“The changing room and the footballing department at this football club will never give up. We’re striving to improve because we want to keep getting better and better. We’re creating unity along the way and the challenge now is that we go down to Swindon and we give a good account of ourselves that’s worthy of the support we get from our fans.
“It’s a division where anything can happen. Yeovil beat Coventry 6-2 on Monday and both Mansfield and Notts County got beat. It’s still all to play for and we’re still in there. We know we’re capable of putting back-to-back wins together and the crowd know that.
“They were excellent for us because they’ve seen a very committed team which didn’t quite get the slice of luck it needed. The frustration and annoyance the fans felt in the decisions that were made were there for us all to see and hear, and I wouldn’t have minded being on the terraces myself today so I could have said exactly what I thought as well.”
A one match suspension now awaits midfielder Mike Jones this coming weekend following his dismissal for two yellow cards, the second coming deep into time added on.
“I think he only made two tackles all game,” Curle commented. “He got two cautions from them, and if you put that against some of the persistent fouling from some of their players, they should have been given at least a yellow.
“The disappointing thing from the second booking was that Ashley Nadesan tried to cross a ball when it wasn’t on to cross, and that ended up drawing the tackle. When you have that with a card happy referee you know he’s going to make the decision.”
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