Keith Curle: Vent your anger at me, not the Carlisle United players

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Carlisle United boss Keith Curle says fans who want to vent their frustration should do so at him - and not the players - when the struggling Blues return to Brunton Park this weekend.

The Cumbrians slumped to 19th in League Two after last night's 2-0 defeat at Coventry.

It was a second away defeat in four days without scoring as worries grew over the Blues' form in the early weeks of 2017/18.

Curle insisted that there were positives to be taken from the display, particularly his team's first-half efforts.

But he said any supporters keen to express their anger during this Saturday's home clash with Barnet should do so in his direction.

“I know what football supporters are like,” he said.

“All I would say is if you’re coming to the stadium just to have a rant, just to have a rave, that won’t hurt me. Why? Because I can take it.

“I can take everything that everybody’s got. All I want is to encourage the players, encourage your team, get the best out of your players and I know what our supporters are like – they back the players.

“I’m saying back your players, back your team. If you’ve got frustrations, vent them at me.”

United’s players were called in for training this morning with Curle insisting that hard work could turn their poor form around.

The manager, who made six changes to his team at the Ricoh Arena, handing league debuts to Shamal George, James Brown and Kelvin Etuhu, said lessons could be taken from the defeat.

“The first goal was disappointing on a couple of factors but it’s work in progress,” he said.

“We’re in, we’re working. The only way you turn this around is by the application and attitude to work. It’s not punishment, we need to turn it around and we’re prepared to work. It’s a challenge that we’ve got to face head on.

“There’s little things we learn about individuals now about the reliability, consistency, dependability and what we need to do and what our jobs are, because collectively, if you don’t, you get punished.

“In the first half I thought it was two evenly matched teams. We probably started the game slightly more advantageous and causing a few more problems.”

Curle, who lost defender Mark Ellis to a broken nose in the second half, added: “The first half was very positive, causing problems with the shape. I thought James Brown came in and did very well. Shamal George came in and did very well, Kelvin Etuhu showed glimpses of what he’s about so there’s positives to take out of it.

“For 45 minutes there was nothing in the game, I think probably in the first half, apart from the save Shamal made I think the best chance of the game fell to Jamie Devitt in the box and again if Jamie starts scoring goals then he’s going to go on a run and score lots of goals.

“Tom Parkes stepped in excellently and had a shot that hit the post and albeit at 2-0 down had a free header.”

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