CURLE RELIES ON SIDE-KICK JOHN
Evening Post, 17 December 2002
Assistant John Gannon will take charge while Keith Curle is doing his bit on the pitch to lift the Stags off the bottom of Division Two.
Curle, who made his Mansfield Town debut in Saturday's 4-0 win over Blackpool, said Gannon was able to take in the full picture from the touchline.
It was only Stags' second clean sheet of the season and Curle was delighted to get his league managerial career off to a winning start.
The 39-year-old said he had to concentrate on his own game while on the pitch.
But he revealed that he, Gannon, youth coach Paul Holland and senior pro Scott Sellars sat in the foyer at Field Mill to discuss the first 45 minutes before joining the players in the dressing room for the half-time team-talk.
Curle said: "As far as I am concerned, John is in charge of the team on a Saturday because, if I am playing, I need him to look at the whole picture. Paul was with him on the bench and I also had Scott Sellars in the directors' box.
"We managed to get out of the way and sit under the stairs at half-time and discuss what was going on."
Curle did, however, instruct Gannon from the pitch to replace Andy White with Colin Larkin, who went on to score twice.
"I did tell John that he should sub Andy because he hasn't played much football lately," added Curle.
"With 20 minutes to go, I knew how I would have felt if they had brought on a nippy striker so that's why Colin came on - and he did very well."
The three teams immediately above Mansfield - Notts County, Huddersfield and Peterborough - also won.
But Curle said: "It doesn't affect me at all what other teams are doing because my only concern is Mansfield Town and how we can improve as a team.
"We have still got 25 games to go.
"I was very pleased with Saturday and there were plenty of positives to take out of the game.
"We looked dangerous going forward and we defended well, considering they had four players across the front who would trouble any team in this division.
"Sometimes we lost our shape a bit but, bearing in mind we only had a couple of days to do some team training because of the weather, it was good.
"There are still plenty of things we want to work on and carry on educating the players in what we want them to do.
"In myself, John and Paul, we have three people who are determined to make them better players.
Curle will also step up his own training after a spell out of the game.
"I think I could get through four or five games on adrenalin but I really need to step up my training.
"I was pleased I had three young lads alongside me who played very well, and I think Rhys Day looked like the player everyone rates so highly."