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MANAGER: Scoring three on the road and losing is even more disappointing

Keith Curle with reaction to the Wycombe away game

4 February 2018

Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the disappointing defeat at Adams Park on Saturday afternoon shortly after the full time whistle had blown.

“Ultimately we’re all extremely disappointed,” he said. “An ending like that leaves you having gone through the full range of emotions. That’s the nature of the game.

“We’re all professionals and we came to win a game of football. We got ourselves into a great position and there has to be acceptance that we let that position go because people didn’t do their jobs defensively.

“We also have to give credit to Wycombe because they do what they do well, and they used it to their advantage in time added on.”

“The way Wycombe play is very one dimensional, but it’s also effective,” he continued. “They know where the ball is going and they get people close to it.

“I don’t think they really offered a threat in the second half until those last five minutes.”

“I thought we started the first half very well and we were able to expose some of the weaknesses we felt they had at the back,” he added. “Likewise, we weren’t able to cover up and we didn’t get the bounce of the ball in and around the box.

“Within a two-minute spell we were two goals down and arguably you could say it should have been one-nil, at worst. I have to say, it was a great response from the players after we changed the shape at half time.

“They showed a good understanding of what we wanted them to do. The early penalty got us back into the game and when were sat there at 3-2 it was set up for us to close the game out, or even go on and get another one and put it completely to bed.”

On the two goals conceded very late in the day, he commented: “Their third goal was poor defending at the back stick. You can’t let somebody get inside you - that just can’t happen. That comes down to a basic defensive error.

“The fourth goal comes from a free kick and you know what to expect. You’re going to get a hand grenade thrown into the box and you have to deal with it. We were also guilty of not working on first contact but, if you lose that, you have to get people around the second contact to stop the shot.”

Looking back at the first half, a good start by the visitors was knocked back when the Chairboys established a two-goal advantage midway through the period.

“There was nothing in the game until they got their first goal and then suddenly they had two and something to hold on to,” he said. “The first one was disappointing because we’d spoken about staying with runners and about watching people feed off Akinfenwa.

“We allowed their man to go free and he scored. The second goal was very similar, following a cross from a scramble in the box, but a goalkeeper can’t parry the ball down into an area like that. Mind you, I thought there was an obvious handball missed by the official, but these things happen.

“We still need to deal with it because they know the areas to flood and where to get best contact.”

On the first half substitution of Luke Joyce, he said: “He picked up an irritation in his groin and he knew he couldn’t do what he wanted to do. We’re at a stage now where we don’t need injured players on the pitch because we have competitive replacements.

“We made the change with Clint [Hill] at half time because he has been ill and in bed all week. We had to get him out of bed and out him into a single room in quarantine at the hotel just to get 45 minutes out of him.

“He was excellent, but when he comes to see you to let you know he’s emptied the tank you have to believe him. What we do know is that if he’d been there for that last four or five minutes it would have been people bouncing off him, and not the other way round.

“There’s a balanced argument to go against that, because with him on the pitch we were two goals down. But I’d liked to have had him in my team for those closing stages.

“If you take Clint Hill out of that defence, a player who sees doing the natural side of defending as part and parcel of his game, then it does mean that others have to step up and get that first contact or make that challenge.

“On this occasion we’re asking whether we have enough people to go and do that type of defending and to make those correct decisions. We do zone mark in situations like that, so we need to ask if we had enough players in key areas of the pitch at the right times. We’ll be looking at that when we review the goals.”

“With Kris Twardek, he’d been booked, and some referees do see an opportunity to level the game up,” he explained. “We had that in mind when we brought him off because, with the type of competitor he is, we needed to make sure we finished the game with eleven people on the pitch.

“Hallam [Hope] came on and he stretched the game and kept hold of possession in good areas. That was what we asked of him and he was a good replacement.”

When asked how he will lift the players due to the manner of the defeat, he told us: “There’s an air of frustration and disappointment and I know exactly how that changing room is feeling.

“They’ve played well but come up short because of goals conceded. They need to get over that because there are still points to play for. To put this right we need to go out and win the next three games.

“Coming off the back of three clean sheets to give four goals away is disappointing. Scoring three on the road and losing is even more disappointing. We have to take it on the chin, because we’ve caused it ourselves, and make sure that we do our jobs to get the results our overall performances deserve.”

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

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