Cobblers players ‘irked’ by early start but Curle says ‘it’s not a punishment, it’s work’

Keith Curle has had his players in at 9am every day this week. Picture: Pete Norton
Keith Curle has had his players in at 9am every day this week. Picture: Pete Norton

Cobblers players were ‘quiet, disappointed and frustrated’ in the aftermath of Saturday’s defeat to Port Vale according to manager Keith Curle, who says his decision to call them in at 9am every day this week is ‘work, not a punishment’.

Curle, so furious with Town’s ‘shocking’ performance against 10-man Vale at the weekend, let rip at his players during a surprisingly forthright post-match interview and demanded they come in at 9am for training every day of this week.

We’re doing it slightly more now and it probably irked some of the players to be in at 9am but we’re working on technical, physical, tactical and mental development.

“You get the feeling that some of them think the season is over,” he said on Saturday. “Well, every day next week we’re in at 9am, every day – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – because this season isn’t over. It’s not over for me and it’s certainly not going to be over for the players.”

Curle stuck to his guns and carried through with his promise this week as the Cobblers look to make amends for their below-par showing against Vale when they head to Notts County on Saturday.

“We want to create a culture at the club of development and improvement and that hasn’t changed,” said Curle on Tuesday. “We’re doing it slightly more now and it probably irked some of the players to be in at 9am but we’re working on technical, physical, tactical and mental development.

“All of those four areas are key to performances and we need to make sure the players have the mindset that they are ready to work when they come into the building.

“The players are spending more time together but I think that is important. When things are going well and players are performing, you can allow them the time off. When things are not going well, it’s important to stop the negativity and to have positive influences from myself and the coaches.

“We’re in and around the players more because we need to spread the message. It’s not a punishment, it’s work.”

Asked how the players reacted to both their performance on Saturday and Curle’s interview, the Town boss replied: “They’re quiet, disappointed and frustrated because they knew themselves that they didn’t perform.

“They’ve got to perform on a daily basis and they understand that. Everything is being monitored in training and hopefully the players still want the opportunity to play and then produce performances either to continue their journey here or potentially elsewhere.”