Manager Keith Curle took a look ahead to this weekend’s visit of Cambridge United at his Thursday afternoon pre-match press conference.
“There was an air of disappointment after the game last weekend, which you’re going to feel after being 2-0 up but only getting a draw,” he said. “It is always a difficult lead if you concede the next goal, so the important thing was to keep the momentum and try and completely kill the game off.
“The frustration and disappointment were evident in the changing room because the win was there for us. However, I quickly reminded them that we’re still six games undefeated at a very important stage of the season.
“You have to look at the positives and negatives from the game, and analyse it, but then it’s a case of working on the positives. Every game is different and a new challenge to face. Things have been identified that we can do better, and things have been identified that we need to get out of our game as well.”
“Cambridge are a very difficult team to play against,” he said. “They can be very unpredictable, which we’ve seen where they’ve had a couple of good games where it looks like they’re starting an upward spiral, then they have a couple of negative results and peter out, but then they come again.
“Very easily you could go and roll them over three or four nil, or very easily you could be on the wrong end of a defeat.”
“It’s a game which gives us another opportunity for us to go out and express ourselves,” he commented. “There’s still a lot of confidence in the dressing room, and a lot of competition as well.
“Numbers are dwindling, because of injuries and internationals, and that will affect the strength of the squad for Saturday. It’s still a very competitive squad. It’s a changing room which enjoys the challenges we give them through the week. and also what they face on a Saturday.
“Cambridge will be big, strong and physical and they’ll want to get the ball forward. They’ve obviously got Jabo Ibehre in their ranks who our supporters very much took to. If they play with him and Ikpeazu up top it will be a challenge for our defenders to win that first contact.
“Personally, I don’t think they will play with the two-up front and match our 4-4-2. I think they’ll play a 4-5-1 and be very narrow as they try to condense the midfield area.”
“Joe Dunne will want his team to play in the right areas,” he continued. “When you’ve got the big physical presence up front you try and use it, then go and play in the final third.
“They’ll play narrow because I think they’ll try and land on second balls.”
Speaking more about the return of the Islington Assassin, he said: “Obviously we know him very well. Jabo calls it his juice, and when he’s got the juice I think he’s unplayable, especially in this division.
“He’s a dangerous animal when he’s on his game, but he can be a lump to get going - as I’ve told him on a few occasions! I think he got the rewards because he played with freedom and had his best goal return in both of his seasons with us for a number of years. He enjoyed this football club and I think everyone could see that while he was here.
“I like him as a man and I like him as a player. I respected what he brought to the football club. He’s a character that a changing room looks up to and he doesn’t let people down.”
With eight games left to play, he told us: “The focus now is that we have to look after ourselves. Other teams will have been playing games in hand, but we don’t know what will have come out of those results, whether it be injuries, suspensions, fatigue levels.
“We have it in mind that we’re playing Saturday-Saturday from now until the end of the season. We get a week to prepare and we have to deliver.”
And on the role the fans can play, he said: “This is where we want positivity through the 90 minutes and we want to show real unity right through the club. The supporters have a huge part to play in that because when they’re behind us it really does help to create momentum.
“It’s a stage of the season where there will be nerves and games will go one way, then the other, and it’s important that we give the players the platform they need to give us the best opportunity of taking the points.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Keith Curle on iFollow United now.