FANS HOLD NO FEARS FOR CURLE
Evening Post, 01 April 2003
Mansfield boss Keith Curle said today that he has no fears over facing the club's supporters tonight despite Stags' dismal 5-1 home defeat to Peterborough.
Curle said today that the club was going nowhere before he took over in December. Both he and chairman Keith Haslam are due to face questions from members of the Stags Supporters Association, and the weekend's performance is likely to be top of the agenda.
But Curle is looking forward to the meeting and stands by his record as Stags manager.
When he took over, following the dismissal of Stuart Watkiss, Stags had 15 points from their first 20 games.
With the same number of matches under Curle's belt, the Stags have gained 25 more points.
The manager added that, with the help of assistants John Gannon and Paul Holland, the Stags still have a chance of staying up - a chance they didn't have when he arrived at the club.
"The fans' forum should certainly be interesting," he said.
"I have not got a problem meeting them at all and I know that I can look each one of them in the eye and say that, had it not been for the work me, John and Paul have done, we would not be in the position of having a chance of staying up.
"The club was going absolutely nowhere before and I have no problem putting that message across."
He said he had done a lot of soul-searching this weekend in an attempt to put his finger on why his team had played so poorly.
Stags are now two points adrift of fifth-from-bottom Stockport and face another crunch match at home to Port Vale on Saturday.
After looking at his selection, including his decision to leave himself on the bench, and the preparation, he was still left puzzled by what happened.
Curle added: "I felt disappointment, despair and anger at the performance and the result and I found myself asking whether the training and the preparation had been right. I thought it was all spot-on and the players were really up for the game.
"I thought about whether I should have played myself but I knew that the defence had played well in the last three games while I have been out.
"Everything seemed to be right but you can do as much work as you want and if you don't then pick up two players from two set pieces then you are going to get punished."
Curle's direct style of play has come under criticism but the manager said his players failed to take the right options when they were in possession.
He said: "Overall, the selection of our passes was wrong. When we did manage to get the ball down and had the opportunity to play we took the wrong options and, in big matches, if you make more wrong decisions then you are going to lose.
"I am convinced that Peterborough came here knowing that a point would be a good result for them.
"Then they got some early breaks and it didn't become necessary for them to chase the game.
"They were just able to sit back and play counter-attacking football."
OTHER NEWS FROM FIELD MILL...
12:00 - 01 April 2003
Rhys Day, who was stretchered off on Saturday with a knee injury, should be available for the weekend, Keith Curle said today.
The same applies to Adam Eaton, who had to be taken to King's Mill Hospital an hour before kick-off for an injection after a knock he picked up in the 1-0 defeat at Cardiff gave him discomfort. Junior Mendes also picked up a knock but is expected to be available to face Port Vale on Saturday.
Curle said: "We should only be without Rhys for two or three days so he should be fit for Saturday which is a big boost but Adam had to go to hospital at about 2pm to have an injection before the game.
"Junior should be alright as he has only had a knock on the calf."
• Former Stags midfielder John Walker has failed a drugs test while playing in Scotland.
Walker, 29, who made 78 appearances and scored five goals at Field Mill between 1996 and 1999, was positively tested after a recent game between his club Hamilton Academicals and Berwick Rangers.
Latest | April 2003