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MANAGER: Our second half reaction was what we want to see

Keith Curle with his thoughts on the Notts County away game

14 February 2018

United manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the Tuesday night away defeat at Meadow Lane.

“Performance wise we did enough to get something out of the game,” he said. “We had good dominance of the ball in the final third and I thought we had the majority of the play in their half.

“They have two good lads up front who have a good understanding of what they need to do. They put the ball in good areas and they’re horrible to play against. As a team they kill the game using old footballing tactics, to stop teams from getting into a rhythm, but I thought we showed good character and we built up momentum having gone two goals behind.”

“Our reaction in the second half was what we wanted to see, and I thought the new players played their part,” he continued. “You always get the feeling that if you can get one back there’s a nervousness about this place that creeps in. We got the goal our play deserved but then the scrambles and ricochets which followed didn’t land our way.

“We started to rush things and we tried shooting from impossible angles instead of keeping it alive and flooding the area. If you do that you can wait for mistakes to come, because they do come. There are positives to come out of it because they wanted the final whistle more than we did.”

Speaking about the goals conceded, he commented: “The first goal came from a scruffy ball out from the back. We put it into an area in midfield where it invited a loss of possession, and that led to us being dismantled.

“It was a poor delivery, the pass was choked, and a poor option taken, so we ended up being spread out and unable to regroup quickly enough. I put a lot of expectations on James Brown and I’m always demanding for him to be better. He’s learning and he knows why we made the changes we did at half time.

“I didn’t think there was anything in the game until that happened. We probably had the clearer chances and it was disappointing to see one ball get slid through our back four, and the lad suddenly has a one-against-one with Jack [Bonham]. That can’t happen. It was a good attempt by Jack to keep it out, but it just had enough momentum to take it into the net.”

“The second goal was a foul on the keeper in our opinion,” he said. “With some of the fouls which were given outside the box you look at it and think it has to be a free kick.

“There are also claims for the lad being offside on the line as the ball hit him, but referees and assistant referees can’t see everything.”

And on the chances created by the Blues, he commented: “We created some good chances by getting behind them and pulling the ball back, and that’s when you’re thinking that if you had a goal scoring midfielder who arrives in the box at the right times then he would be walking away with two or three goals from the game.

“We’ve spoken before about some of the rhythm we had when Nicky Adams was playing. With him you know the ball will come into the danger area as soon as he gets out wide, and you would then have Jason Kennedy getting goals from first and second phase play with the ball being kept alive.

“I thought we worked the ball in good areas and all we needed then was the finishing touch. Over the last couple of seasons we’ve been able to force goals, whether we were chasing a game or killing one off. We did that by getting more people in the box.

“One of things we need to work on now is getting the confidence into the players to keep getting into those areas. We had three or four cut backs which should have been tap-ins for somebody, so that’s an area to improve on.

“What you have to bear in mind is that you don’t just go and find another Jason Kennedy. That’s something we’re working on, and Jamie Devitt has got himself on a run at the moment. That shows that the good players are picking things up.

“I thought we manoeuvred them very well in the first half and Hallam Hope had their right back on toast. He was causing them all sorts of problems. They doubled up on him in the second half and that gave us other areas to exploit. Some of our set pieces need to be better but that’s something else we’ll work on.”

And on a first appearance for the club for Fleetwood loanee Ashley Nadesan, he said: “We needed to make some changes during the second half and we were still left with good options on the bench as well.

“I thought Ashley was outstanding when he came on. He gave us something slightly different and he showed good awareness and anticipation. He can travel with and without the ball and he showed a good bit of composure for our goal.

“He’s got his assist and he’s one who can score goals as well. He’s taken a couple of weeks to settle but don’t be surprised if you see him getting more and more game time.”

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

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