Despite the disappointment of the result on Tuesday night United’s players dusted off the inconvenience of the stop-start month of January with a performance that saw them compete for the 90 minutes.
But manager Chris Beech spoke after the game about the need for the lads to get more game time under their belts as they look for a return to their stunning pre-Christmas form.
“There’s an edge to fitness, there’s a killer instinct, the last five per cent,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what you say, how hard you train, you only get that edge from playing, from doing your sport when it matters.
“You’ve got to deal with psychology, nerves, with differences within the game, agitation, and you’ve got to keep going at it really hard. Until you get regular in that, of course it’s going to affect you.
“Hopefully we’re through what has been a strange period and we’ll be back to playing regularly again.
“I’m happy we got another game on Tuesday, I’m not happy we've not got a point or gained three, but I am looking forward to getting into a rhythm of playing games where we can seek to maximise our opportunities.”
On the expected feelings of frustration following the defeat, he added: “We have to remember that we’ve excelled up to now.
“We were beaten on Tuesday because we didn’t do what we’ve got used to doing well enough. Looking back, the players asked too many questions of me to manage them by trying to support them to get their three points.
“I had to change personnel to try to create a difference but, as I keep saying, if you aren’t in rhythm you can train as hard as you want, it’s still very difficult once it’s the real thing.
“We need to get used to feeling aggrieved and having to go against things again. We need to get used to being assertive when it’s needed again. We’re not quite there, but we will be. It isn’t a dip, we’ve just gone to play a game and we weren’t quite right in ourselves to win it.
“We don’t like it, we got beat, but you’ve got to move on. We need to take responsibility and look to do something about it.”
And helping with that aim has been the fantastic response from the local community with the offer of training facilities, should the club find that the weather is about to scupper their plans.
“We can’t help where we are, we love the fact we represent Carlisle, but being here comes with the consequence of weather which can be rain or deep, cold frost,” he told us. “That is what it is.
“We’ve had a lot of players with the virus, there’s nothing we can do about that. We’ve come out of the other side of all these things now and hopefully we can enjoy our sport and play regular football, so that our rhythm does come back.
“We’re now on a 22-game journey or rollercoaster, however you want to describe it, and there will be highs and lows to come.
“What we know from the response we got is that there are so many people within our community who want to do their bit. Kendal Rugby Club were magnificent, their chairman came along on Friday and Sunday to open up for us.
“We’re really grateful for that because it enabled us to start to prepare for the games to come. The Richard Rose Academy is another.
“I’ve seen it over the past year or so and I can’t believe we haven’t been able to utilise it. I hear in the past we have done and it’s broken down for whatever reason. I think our players will respect the opportunity to use it again and we’ll utilise it to the best of our abilities.
“We use Penrith Rugby Club, they’re absolutely brilliant with us, and we now have new contacts. It’s just fantastic.
“It’s great that people have responded and I’m very grateful that so many got in touch to offer their help. It’s a wonderful community spirit and what we’ve got to do now is make sure we keep getting ready for these games that are going to come thick and fast.
“The period we’ve been through has been hard. Imagine getting in your car 10 times to go to work only to be told to run round and go home again. That’s what it’s been like for us and it’s difficult.
“It’s a different type of hard work when you’ve prepared for a game and it doesn’t happen. I can’t wait for the other 22 opportunities we have now.”
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