Keith Curle refuses to use fan unrest against board as excuse for Carlisle Utd defeat

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Keith Curle refused to use the growing unrest against the Carlisle United board as an excuse for their poor display at Mansfield.

Some travelling fans displayed banners criticising the Blues regime during Saturday's 2-0 defeat.

But manager Curle came out in support of the owners and directors - and stressed his team's below-par efforts in Nottinghamshire could not be blamed on those people.

He said: "The performance level was not anything to do with the board of directors or the owners - they back me 100 per cent.

"Everything they do is for the betterment of the job I'm trying to do for this football club.

"I'm pleased with the backing I've been getting from them. They look after us, they look after the footballing department, they go out of their way to make sure everything we want and we acquire is right.

"I've said that to the players - don't go thinking in any way, shape or form that you can hide behind Andrew Jenkins, John Nixon, Steve Pat[tison], and the other key stakeholders of the football club.

"There will be speculation, there will be talk about them, which I think is totally unjust and unfair at this stage of the season. This is about what we do in that changing room."

Banners featuring messages such as "Bored of the board" were held up by some of the 561 travelling fans at the One Call Stadium.

Some also chanted against co-owner John Nixon.

It followed the protest made before last Tuesday's home game against Luton.

On the pitch, United failed to score for a club record sixth straight game as they fell to sixth in the table.

They are now just two points above the chasing pack outside the play-off places, with eight games to go.

Curle believes his team were punished for failing to do the "simple things" well enough against Steve Evans' side.

He said: "Ultimately that's what got us turned over. All they [Mansfield] did consistently is put the ball in behind us, and got after it, ran, chased, harried, put the ball in the box.

"For 10-12 minutes at the start of the game, we did exactly the same. Then we stopped putting the ball into areas that would give them problems.

"And we gave ourselves problems. We allowed them to get on the front foot.

"I've said to the players, it's a very simple game, and when you don't do the simple things, you haven't got a platform and foundation to build off.

"Back to basics, that's where we've got to go now. We don't look like scoring goals because we're not putting the ball in areas, we're not retaining possession in the final third, and we're not getting in there with the quality to maintain pressure."

Curle, meanwhile, was critical of Stags' Danny Rose over the collision that saw Tom Miller forced off in the opening minutes with a nose injury.

United's boss said: "We got the coaching staff to have a word with their centre-forwards, both of them, Green and Rose, going into challenges leading with their elbow.

"It is disappointing when you see your right-back coming off with eight or nine stitches across his face. The lad [Rose] has led with his elbow into a collision. What else can you do apart from pre-warn them that it's dangerous play?"

On his team's victory, Mansfield boss Evans said: "We put a good team to the sword. The only disappointment was it was only two and not five."

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