CURLE GIVES A TIMELY REMINDER
CURLE GIVES A TIMELY REMINDER
STAGS boss Keith Curle has given a his under-pressure side a timely reminder of 'the way we were' ahead of Saturday's crucial home clash with Oxford United (3pm).
After five defeats in seven matches, Curle sat his squad down this morning to watch a video of them destroying Scunthorpe United 5-0 earlier in the season.
"The same 11 players on the pitch that day are still in the dressing room and we were magnificent," said Curle.
"We just did the simple things all the time. We did the first thing we saw and it worked so well. That's what we need to get back to. It's a simple game.
"It's not a case of needing to change all the players. We just need them to get back to doing what we were doing earlier in the season and stop being afraid to make a mistake and treating the ball like a hand grenade with the pin out.
"I have now drawn a line under the games at Lincoln and Bury. They are gone and we have to move forward."
Curle has begun to take some flak from the fans and hopes that by being the target he can try to shield the fragile confidence of his young squad.
"I have broad shoulders and I know the responsibility for results ultimately lies with me.
"But I still have belief in the players and I have got to get them in a positive state of mind and coax a performance out of them.
"We have seven home games to come and if we can make Field Mill a fortress and win those games we will go up.
"There has never been a lack of effort, commitment or desire - only quality."
There was mixed news on the injury front for Curle ahead of the Oxford clash.
Liam Lawrence, Craig Disley, Tony Vaughan and Neil MacKenzie are all available again after injury or illness.
But striker Iyseden Christie will be out for four or five weeks after X-rays showed a broken bone in his left foot following his early departure from Tuesday night's defeat at Bury.
"It is a blow to lose Iyseden as he is a quality player who was just getting back to his hustling and hustling best. It wasn't anyone's fault. He just tried to turn and put the weight on that side of his foot."
Curle is still hoping he can add to his squad before Thursday's transfer deadline, maybe even before Saturday, and ideally wants another three new faces.
"I am waiting on replies," he said. "I rang 26 managers on Wednesday, but no one involved in promotion or relegation is keen to let players out and the players avialable at the 30 or so other clubs who aren't likely to go up or down are not quite good enough. I won't take anyone for the sake of it.
Stags drew 1-1 at Oxford earlier in the season and Curle watched them scrape a 1-0 win over Cheltenham on Wednesday night.
"They got the result they just about deserved with a dubious penalty," he said. "They are direct and uncompromising and so we have to be brave enough to get the ball down, keep it and pass it.
"When we were winning matches earlier in the season, the lads were playing football with a smile on their faces. At the minute it's more of a growl which is down to frustration. I want those smiles back."
Curle wants fans' backing
Mansfield boss Keith Curle has urged the club's fans to rally behind the players, even when things are not going their way.
Supporters grew impatient during Tuesday night's clash with Bury and rounded on the team following their 3-0 defeat.
"When your nerve has gone and you are suffering a lack of confidence, shouting abuse at the player is not going to help them," Curle told the club's website.
"It is the opposite they need so even if they make a mistake, and every footballer will at some point in their game, they will feel that their fans are on their side.
"If the fans feel like taking their disappointment out on somebody I would prefer the fans to aim at me."
Latest | March 2004