INTERVIEW WITH TOM CURTIS
Player interview: Tom Curtis - Mansfield Town
Tom Curtis played for Chesterfield for seven years and was part of the giant-killing side which took Middlesbrough to an FA Cup semi final replay after coming within an ace of going all the way to the final. Last Saturday Tom, now playing for arch rivals Mansfield following his move from First Division pace-setters Portsmouth, went back to play against his old club in front of Chesterfield's biggest gate of the season for the Saturday morning kick-off. Mansfield made sure of the points with a goal in injury time to lift them out of the bottom four for the first time this season. Lawrie Madden caught up with Tom after the game.
Q: WHAT WAS IT LIKE GOING BACK TO YOUR FORMER CLUB WHERE YOU HAD SO MANY GOOD TIMES?
A: To be honest, I was a bit nervous and it didn't help that I got booked early on. Hardly the best way to try and calm down. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. There had been a lot of challenges which you expect in a derby game and I suppose the ref was going to book someone at some stage and it was me. All in all, it was not one of my better games and I found it difficult to get tight to my marker.
Q: BUT YOU MUST HAVE BEEN DELIGHTED WITH THE RESULT?
A: Yeah, it was a brilliant result. We played really well. It was a high-tempo game and I think what was important was that we kept our discipline and kept our heads especially when they had a man stupidly sent off. He had been on the pitch for a minute and was off. He lost his head while we kept ours and in the end it got us a result.
Q: WHAT'S CHANGED AT THE CLUB SINCE THE ARRIVAL OF KEITH CURLE?
A: Firstly, there is a great team spirit. You need it at any level but especially when you are struggling. I think the manager has brought organisation and he has installed a belief whereby the players believe in him and themselves. Also the players go out for a game feeling that they can play to the same level every week.
Q: WAS IT A BIG DECISION LEAVING PORTSMOUTH TO COME HERE?
A: To be honest I have been struggling with injuries for the last couple of seasons and I was not figuring in Harry Redknapp's plans so when Keith came in for me and offered me first team football it was not a hard decision to make really. I think if you ask most players they want to be playing and I am no different.
Q: HAVING FINALLY GOT OUT OF THE BOTTOM FOUR, ARE YOU CONFIDENT OF STAYING OUT OF TROUBLE?
A: I think so. I have been here for six games so far and I have to say that we could have got something from every game. Sometimes you get well beat or other occasions you don't always play well but we could have got a few more points, so that is encouraging. We also went behind against Chesterfield and that showed the spirit and character of the side to come from behind in a local derby against a side which is flying. That is how far we have come.
Q: HOW DIFFERENT IS THE FOOTBALL AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SECOND COMPARED TO THE TOP OF THE FIRST?
A: It is a bit more hurly burly and you don't get any time on the ball. But a lot of sides do try and play and not just hit it up the field at the first opportunity. That's what we're trying to do and hopefully the results will justify our efforts at the end of the day.