Kiely jumps to defence of under-fire Curbishley

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The Independent Football

Dean Kiely, the Charlton goalkeeper, wants his team to take collective responsibility for their recent slump, rather than blaming Alan Curbishley, the manager, who has been linked with moves to Newcastle and Rangers after a 14-year spell at The Valley.

The Addicks suffered their sixth defeat in a row with the 5-2 defeat to Manchester City at the weekend, and there have been suggestions Curbishley could be looking for a fresh challenge.

However, Kiely believes Curbishley is part of the club's future. "Curbs is the one constant thing who has been here since the year dot," said Kiely, who made his first League appearance of the season in the heavy defeat by City.

"When you take the blinkers off and look at the big picture, the recent history is the most successful the club has had for years. Curbs has played an integral part in that. I see it as the same whether we are good, bad or indifferent.

"There is nobody looking around and panicking. We are in this together and we make decisions together. And we are all culpable."

With a contract until 2007, Curbishley is waiting to discuss an extension which could take him towards a 20-year stay, having originally been appointed joint-manager with Steve Gritt in 1991.

Curbishley has shown admirable loyalty to Charlton and has pointed out time and again it is not an issue of money but whether he truly wants to take charge of a top club.

Against Manchester City, the long-serving manager was disappointed with his players. Curbishley said: "It is clear that I have got players who don't want to track back, don't want to put their foot in. I'm fed up with hearing from other teams just how well they've played. The common denominator is that they have just played us.

"We have just got to turn this around and I hope we do it this Saturday. This run has hurt me, I just hope it has hurt the players. But I pick the team and I bring the players to the club. So I have to take responsibility.

"Having watched that, Mick McCarthy [Sunderland manager] is going to think to himself he's got a chance here next Saturday. Sunderland must be desperate but on this evidence he couldn't be playing a better team.

"I haven't thought about who will play against them yet. I just know I have told them what I think and now I'm going back to tell them for the rest of the week."

Kiely, who started the season with a broken finger and in his two games back has conceded eight goals, could be replaced by Stephan Andersen, who did not even make the bench on Sunday.

But Kiely said: "Everyone contributed to the defeat against City and everyone contributes when we win.

"It is a results business and we are not going to make any apologies for the fact that from now on it is not going to be pretty or a feast of football.

"We didn't get carried away when we were second in the table and we won't get carried away by being 12th. When results are few and far between you have to go back to being dirty and horrible and grind out results that way."