KEITH Curle refused to use fans’ protests as an excuse for Latics’ defeat at home to Barrow.

The game was brought to a halt in the 65th minute by a pitch invasion in which some fans sat on the centre spot, forcing referee Carl Boyeson to temporarily withdraw both sides from the field of play.

But by that point Latics we’re already 3-0 down, after two goals in four second half minutes killed off any chance of a fightback.

And Curle insists the unrest between the fans and the club’s hierarchy had no bearing on the result or performance.

“I won’t shy away from it, I know there are underlying issues that are going on at the football club, but we know today that we’ve let the fans down with our performance levels,” said the Latics head coach.

“I said to the players, I’d love to be able to use that (the protest) as a distraction. A couple of people came onto the pitch to vent their frustration. We had 90 minutes on that pitch and we didn’t do enough today.

“We were outfought by Barrow.

“There was a lack of discipline with individuals, and it’s not about time keeping, it’s about doing what needs to be done as individuals. And that’s a discipline. If you want to be successful you do what needs to be done, and today we didn’t have enough disciplined players that did their jobs individually and collectively.”

Latics continue to be dogged by injuries, with Curle without eight players before the game, including Dylan Bahamboula who is on international duty with Congo, while another player was injured during the half-time warm-up.

“We’re down to the bare bones and we’re thin on the ground,” said Curle.

“The likelihood is it’s going to be the same players that are going to be performing next week because the injuries we’re getting are long term.

“It’s not a case of getting injured on a Tuesday, miss a couple of days training and then fit, it’s one of those where it’s three months, two months, month, five weeks, six weeks, so what we’ve got in the changing room is what we’ve got.”

Curle added: “The easy thing would be to dismantle that team, but the likelihood is then I’ve got the same players that are going to be available for selection next week, if we get through a week without picking up any more injuries.

“I’m not in the habit of dismantling changing rooms, I’ll protect the players to the hilt, but I need a little bit more out of them.”