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Archived News from September 2004

11th September 2004 21:35

Audio interview with Keith Curle from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed)

"Ask any manager - on the back of two 4-1 home victories and good performances it is important in your next away game to make sure you don't get beaten," said Stags boss Keith Curle.
"We showed another side to our game today and battled well.
"Credit to Cambridge, they battled and chased hard and didn't let us get into our easy tempo football.
. "But my lads showed the right character, rolled up their sleeves and put their foot through the ball when it was necessary.
"Some people probably thought it would have been typical Mansfield Town if we had lost today after those two 4-1 home wins.
"We showed great character to come from behind twice and showed a purpose in our football. It was a bit frantic in the last 10 minutes as we were desperate to stay unbeaten.
"Both our goals came from set plays and thankfully the referee was lenient enough to allow bodily contact when jumping with the goalkeeper. Colin Larkin will always get a sniff in the six yard box for a tap-in and I thought Neil MacKenzie's was a great goal after being so unlucky with the one that hit bar and post which I can't wait to see again.
"Cambridge showed they are better than their League position suggests. But that's why I pay no real attention to tables yet, just performances. One win and Cambridge will be back up into mid-table and another would put them in the top six or seven.
Evening Post website

Mansfield manager Keith Curle claimed it was the Stags' tactics which earned the goals and the points.

Curle said: "We work on that move, putting men on the keeper to pressure him, and this time with the referee allowing a bit of contact, which you need, we got our rewards.

"We won our previous two matches 4-1 so it was good to see that we have the kind of character to battle back from behind.

"Cambridge made it hard, they are better than their position down the bottom and it was a very hard fought performance which will do us a lot of good."

Cambridge boss Herve Renard blamed his goalkeeper Shaun Marshall after his two mistakes allowed Mansfield to grab a share of the spoils.

"It was not our defence to blame, it was the keeper's two mistakes," said Renard bluntly.

"We played some of our best football of the season with five men missing and young (Dennis) Oli came in and was excellent, but when the keeper makes those mistakes what can you do?

"Unfortunately Shaun is lacking in confidence and our other keeper John Ruddy needs a rest. We have to remember the display and not the result."
Renard On Mansfield Draw
Cambridge official site

Herve Renard struggled for words to express his disappointment after "two mistakes" cost United a win against Mansfield.

The clearly disappointed Frenchman struggled for words when asked to summarise a 'so near yet so far' performance by his team, when Dennis Oli and Jermaine Easter each gave United the lead and twice Mansfield were allowed to equalise.

"We only have one point," he shrugged. "It's impossible to win. It's impossible."

But when asked about the shortcomings that allowed Mansfield to equalise when United seemed to be heading for only the second win of the season, he was certain about the cause and expressed his disappointment with Shaun Marshall.

The goalkeeper was making his first appearance of the season in place of the injured John Ruddy but, after a confident start, he hesitated over two searching balls into the U's area and in each case it resulted in a goal for Mansfield.

"It's not the defence," Renard stated. "It's not 'the defence', it's two mistakes for the goalkeeper. I'm terrible maybe, but it's impossible. I'm sorry.

"The players played very well, they fought very well, they did everything very well, and they need to continue."

New signing Dennis Oli made a lively debut the day after signing a one month contract. He scored the opening goal but had to leave the pitch halfway through the second half with a groin strain, and Renard was pleased with his performance.

"He is a good player because he has the ball in space and he's here for the team. He had a very good game but it was not only Dennis today; I think it is congratulations for all the players.

"Honestly, after this game I can't say 'you are no good'," he added. "It was two goals, the same goal, and it is difficult now because we need the points and I hope the players keep the mind. It's the most important and I am sure the win will come."

The draw saw United drop to 22nd place and Renard admitted, "When I am looking at the table this evening our position is very bad. After this game it is terrible because if you play against a team in the top five and you play very well, you must win, even if Mansfield hit the post.

"But they are a very good team and today I am very proud of my team. Honestly, I am very proud."

So how will he drive his players on to get three points from our next game, at Chester on Saturday? "It is a difficult game," he replied. "Chester has a new manager and I think he will want to win against Cambridge United because of our position.

"It gives confidence to the opposite team now, because Cambridge United does not win, only one time, and it is not enough, but the form was good today. I asked the players for a reaction. I told them I want them to play every time, everywhere, keep the confidence, but it is not enough yet."

Asked specifically about Shaun Marshall starting at Chester if Ruddy is not fit, the manager answered, "Maybe I am not happy, but Shaun can play the next game. I think the problem for Shaun is confidence, but I saw two mistakes.

"Now it is finished and now you prepare for the next game, and I hope the player can accept my critique. It is not possible to miss two mistakes - even if you don't know football, it's not possible."


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