When it was put to manager Chris Beech that we’d just witnessed the best performance under his near 12-month tenureship moments before the cameras started rolling on Saturday afternoon he immediately disagreed, albeit as he acknowledged that his team had played well.
“I’m actually pretty miffed at some of the things that have gone on during the game, and I’m already thinking about how we can make those things better,” he said. “We should have scored more goals.
“I want us to enjoy the ride that we’re on but I also need to make sure we’re professional within it. I respect my job and the Carlisle fans, so I wanted to make sure we preserved our 3-0 lead to make sure we took the three points and the clean sheet home with us, and thankfully we did.
“We’ve scored three goals quite often now - Villa, Colchester, Newport and Morecambe spring to mind, but I much prefer it when it ends up 3-0 instead of 3-2.
“Stats are there and you can look at them however you want to, but I’m just pleased we won a game of football against a good team. I have a lot of respect for John [Yems] and I managed to catch up with him again before the game, and I wish him well.”
Reinforcing the message that the players have to keep demanding more from themselves, he told us: “If your standards are high it bodes well for the future. The lads know that, I had little words with Joe [Riley] and Jon [Mellish] because as soon as you stop competing and don’t win your second ball in the middle of the pitch, the game can change.
“The lads were asked different questions and managed to answer them all on Saturday. We have to keep our standards high, have to understand our responsibilities. I don’t take my job for granted or the people I represent doing it.
“I’ve got to make sure we try and deliver for the Carlisle fans. The whole process during the recruitment was about getting people who wanted to commit to the area and represent our area really well.
“I didn’t want people who were rushing to get on trains and get back to London and things like that. Magnus [Norman] is buying in the area, Brennan [Dickenson] is buying in the area, and I think Omari [Patrick] and Aaron [Hayden] are both renting or possibly buying.
“We’ve also got a lot of lads from Lancashire who make the journey, but it isn’t too bad and they work it well. I wanted people who could logistically be here, and I think from that you create a different kind of team spirit.”
The opening goal of the game for the Blues came for Rhys Bennett, a player who capped off an excellent fortnight with a strong personal display on his first league start for the club.
“He was excellent on Tuesday and he was excellent again on Saturday,” the manager commented. “He can cover the channels which was important against a player like Nadesan, who the fans have seen tear teams up for Carlisle.
“Rhys can mark him on the half way line and still be able to deal with the turnover and the change of direction to cover the channel. He’s hard to beat in a one against one and he can obviously score goals. I’m just happy he’s here.
“When I first got the opportunity to come here, Rhys was the first person I rang to try and recruit, because I know where he’d take the club. But he at the time was playing for Peterborough and, look, it’s amazing.
“He had a deal under his nose, without going into too much detail, from a club that was in the Championship. It turned on its head on the day he was meant to sign by saying it was a pay-as-you-play.
“That’s a bit of a smack on the nose. He then tries his best to stay as high as possible, but did say to me in that first call a year ago that if he was playing in League Two he was playing for me.
“He stuck to that word because I know he had a couple of options. You haven’t seen the best of him yet, he needs to play five or six games like the lads did at the start of the season, to get the best of him.
“At the moment I’m really pleased with all four centre-halves, but I can only play two. Aaron [Hayden] has sharpened up, and I thought Rod [McDonald] had one of his best games against Cheltenham last week, perhaps because Rhys is here, and Max [Hunt] is also playing better and has improved a lot.”
And at the other end goals were shared around, with chances flowing in the final third.
“I really enjoyed Josh Kayode’s goal,” he said. “There was an injection of pace, quality pass, quality movement, quality touch – that goal’s good enough at all levels of football.
“The first one, yeah, I’d have to have a look but there was maybe six or seven passes leading up to it. Aaron’s was a League Two goal – second ball, strong in the box and on the front-foot for the toe peg, and he toed it in.
“If you noticed, Josh played against a very physical centre-half. He’s learning from the Cambridge situation, they roughed him up in the washing machine before he could do his thing.
“He’s learning to play around and beyond, not necessarily right against them, but go against them if it needs to be challenged. He’s doing well. I’m debt collecting and he’s got his goal.”
On the foot injury picked up by Connor Malley early in the Aston Villa game, he explained: “It’s not brilliant but it’s not dead bad.
“He has stitches in his foot, swollen, but he has got a slight crack in there. It’s not a metatarsal, the modern Beckham injury, but it’s a bone, so he can play as soon as he’s pain free.
“He doesn’t have to put a protective boot on, so it might be three weeks or it could be four. It depends how tough he is.”
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