McCarthy: Our Front Four a Test for Anyone in This League
Tuesday, 21st Nov 2017 17:02
Town boss Mick McCarthy believes any defence in the Championship would find it difficult playing against his current front four if they are on top of their game.
The Blues have recently started most games in a 4-2-3-1 system with Joe Garner, who has scored four times, the lone out-and-out striker ahead of eight-goal pair Martyn Waghorn and David McGoldrick and Bersant Celina, who has netted six, interchanging and swapping roles.
“We’ve worked on it, whether they come in narrow and then run out wide or are out wide and come in narrow and play,” McCarthy reflected on the system.
“Or run in behind, for that matter. And if they end up on the left-hand side it could be Joe doing what Waggy’s doing and Waggy on the right and Didz on the left and Bersant up front until they rearrange themselves to the positions that we set off with, which is Joe up front and Waggy in behind and Didzy or Bersant in wide areas.
“But it is pretty fluid and it is pretty much a case of going and playing and creating things for us and we’ll try and have a solid base at the back.
“But they’ve got to be disciplined as well. I was asked on Saturday about Didzy playing wide right. Well, he’s not but he’s got to stop the left-back when he runs.
“And equally if he goes over the other side he’s got to stop the right-back. But then we try and keep the others up.
“I thought Bersant and Didzy did that brilliantly on Saturday, and he still managed to get his goal.
“And, strangely enough, playing that way I think he gets a little bit more freedom than being up front and down the middle, he’s allowed to wander a bit and it’s suited him. How many goals has he got? Eight already.”
Is the formation a difficult one for defences, particularly centre-halves?
“Any system can cause you a problem," he added. "Whoever’s playing well playing the way they play suddenly it’s a bit like, ‘He can’t play that against them!’.
“Well actually you can but it’s just that they’re having a good time and I think anybody in our league will find it difficult playing against those four if they’re all playing well.
“The two centre-halves are not just up against two centre forwards. Sheffield Wednesday do it well, they had Jordan Rhodes up and Gary Hooper dropping in behind and both wingers coming in and playing on the inside and the full-backs getting up on the outside.
“It is about the fluidity of the team, the movement of the team, depending on what shape or system you’re playing. At the moment, these four are causing problems. If it suddenly dried up and stopped I might have to do something else.”
McCarthy has recently started Callum Connolly alongside Cole Skuse in holding roles behind the front four. Does he feel the current system requires two sitters? “Depends how good you are, you might have one sitter. It gives them a bit of freedom to play.
“As a holding midfield player, Skusey’s as good as anybody and will probably play for another four or five years doing that. He’s terrific. And without him we’d certainly be a far weaker team.
“Thankfully through his four years he’s been here we’ve not had to play too often without him because he’s played so many games.”
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