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Archived News from October 2004

11th October 2004 21:49

Curle not down over Swansea setback
CHAD website

STAGS boss Keith Curle was not too downbeat after seeing his side's six-game unbeaten run ended by a last ditch goal at leaders Swansea on Friday.
"Fair play to Swansea – they have earned the right to be up there," he said.
"But if they are the best in our division then we are not far behind them.
"We were obviously disappointed to concede so late. We had worked so hard in trying to shut them out.
"We knew what a dangerous team Swansea are but I thought we went there and matched them.
"In the first half we had to be at our best defending. But we caused them some problems of our own in the second half.
"We knew we were probably only going to get one or two chances all night which we did. But unfortunately we failed to take them.
"For 99 per cent of the game, my players al did their jobs. But you must not let people get easy crosses into your box. And those in the box then have to know where their man in when the ball comes in.
"If you can't do those two things then you are going to get punished which we were.
"I thought we had a point well-earned. We went there with an attacking formation but didn't quite have the quality we needed on the ball on the night or use it as well as we might have.
"Having said that we matched them for desire and commitment."
Evening Post, 09 October 2004
Keith Curle was pleased with his side's performance, despite the defeat.

"I was disappointed because there was a lot of hard work and determination put in," said the Stags boss.

"We shut them down well. They are a dangerous team but I thought we matched them. In the first half we had to be at our best defensively and we did well.

"In the second half we caused them problems and had one or two chances but we didn't take them.

"For 99% of the game people did their jobs and it would have been a point well earned if we had held on.

"We came here with an attacking formation, the desire and commitment was there but at times we lacked a little bit of quality.

"We competed for every single ball all over the park.

"I think the substitutions worked but with two minutes to go we didn't put enough pressure on the ball and we got punished.

"Fair play to them. They've earned the right to be up there but if they are the best team in the league we're not far behind."
South Wales Evening Post, 09 October 2004

It's tough at the top, or so the saying goes, but you won't hear Kenny Jackett complaining. He may have been there only a few short hours following last night's 1-0 win over Mansfield, but the Swansea City manager loves being at the head of the League Two pack and it seems he has no intentions of giving up top spot lightly.

''I like to be top. It's fantastic,'' he said after seeing substitute Adrian Forbes score an 88th-minute winner to see off Keith Curle's determined Stags.

''You've got to be aiming to win every game and stay top of the league all the time.

''I don't go along with the thinking that you stay in the pack and come late. You can't plan things like that.

''If you're in that position in the top seven and not too many points behind the top, there will be opportunities to close the gap.

''But given the choice, I'd like to be top every week.''

And if his side continue to getting victories like this he will get his wish.

Mansfield had come to Vetch Field on a run which had seen them go unbeaten for six games and with midfielder Alex Neil claiming them to be the best side in the division.

But the Stags left with their tails between their legs after Swansea stretched their own run to four wins out of four in the league on their home patch with no goals conceded.

It may have taken until two minutes before the end for Jackett's men to extend their unbeaten run to six, including the win over Luton in the LDV Vans Trophy.

But the ex-QPR No. 2 has great belief in his squad and never gave up hope of a winner eventually arriving.

''I thought we dominated the first half and probably deserved to be in front,'' he said.

''In the second half it was end to end and Mansfield had as many chances as we did.

''Games do open up in the second half and generally there are more chances. I am delighted that we took the one that mattered.

''There was almost a time after the break when I was saying 'make sure we don't lose it fellas - be strong'.

''But I always think with the players we've got we will score. We won't do all the time, but I have got that feeling.''

Jackett's confidence may have been waning after seeing a number of chances go begging in the first half as first Lee Trundle, then Andy Robinson and Sam Ricketts, were all denied by Mansfield goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington and defender David Artell.

And he may have even thought that it was not going to be his side's night when Craig Woodman somehow scrambled Paul Connor's shot off the line towards the end of the first half.

But Jackett has, with the help of sports psychologist Kieran Cosgrave, put some mental steel into his squad and a never-say-die attitude which is beginning to reap its rewards.

So when Forbes's diving header went past Pilkington with two minutes left, it was no surprise that to the ex-Wales international that it finally came.

And he was pleased that it was two of his three substitutes who came up with the goods.

''I thought it was a very good goal,''' he said.

''It was a terrific cross by Leon Britton, like an arrow.

''Adrian gave the keeper no chance. It was a very strong header right in the opposite bottom corner.''

The goal was no more than Jackett's men deserved, but they could have easily paid for their profligacy and but for Willy Gueret could have ended up losing the game.

Mansfield's top scorer Colin Larkin looked odds on to score with only the French goalkeeper to beat after beating the offside trap.

But Gueret is one of the main reasons why Swansea are still the meanest side in the Coca-Cola League, with only six goals conceded in 12 games.

And he did superbly to smother the shot of the Stags' top scorer.

A goal at that stage would have been tough on the home side, but Jackett says it would have summed up just how tight this division is this season.

''Mansfield are a useful team and they played really well,'' he said.

''They have got some good players and we had to be right on our game.

''This was a tough one to overcome and if you look at our games in very few that we've won have we been comfortable.

''This division is very tight and I impressed that on my players by saying: 'Well done, fantastic, but if you drop by five or 10 per cent you are not going to be in the position to win games consistently'.''

At the moment consistency is the key for Swansea and if Jackett keeps drumming that into his players, they could end up somewhere near the top come the business end of the season.

Last night's scorer Adrian Forbes believes that certainly can be the case come May.

''We are top dogs at the moment,'' he said.

''It's taken a lot of hard work to get there and it will take a lot more to stay there.

''There are going to be blips because there are a lot more games to go and there's a long way to go before we can say we're champions or we've gone up.

''But if we keep the same attitude which runs right throughout the club, I see no reason why we can't be there or thereabouts.''
Audio interview with Keith Curle from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed)

Post-match quotes :

Stags manager Keith Curle : "There's a lot of positives we can take from this game... We were forced to defend well and we did defend well... We stood up to be counted... In the end we didn't have enough composure on the ball."

BBC Radio Nottingham's David Jackson : "The Mansfield Town players are really disappointed to have lost it at the end... but to be honest, the Stags were lucky to have held on so long."


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