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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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midastouch added 17:11 - Nov 21
Agreed our strike force is far more potent than last season. I'm not sure if any of them will reach 20 goals (I sure hope one of them does though) but if they share the goals around more evenly then you could just as easily argue that's better than putting all your eggs in one basket. At least if one of them gets an injury or niggle now we have cover whereas when we were previously almost 100% reliant on Murphy there was literally nobody else. And the difference between Waghorn and Varney is almost a world apart!

HALLSJ added 17:14 - Nov 21
I'd be surprised if one of Waghorn or McGoldrick don't possibly both, let's hope so

midastouch added 17:22 - Nov 21
As for Mick's thoughts on Skanteskuse, not quite so sure there although he has grown on me a bit at times this season. He did well on Saturday and I've got off his back some this season. I'm still not a total convert but I have come to better appreciate some of his performances this season. To be honest it's just not a very glamorous role CDM and therefore a lot of the good work can go under the radar. The strikers will always win most plaudits while the workhorses go about their business quietly and are therefore generally not so highly revered. It's just the nature of the beast. Most the legends of the game tend to be those that knew where the back of the net was. You don't get many all-time legends that were defensive midfielders as a hard honest tackle is not nearly so pretty on the eye as a mazy run or top-corner pearler!

maninashed added 18:04 - Nov 21

jas0999 added 20:23 - Nov 21
Agreed. Yet opposition would relish playing against our back four!

braveblue added 09:08 - Nov 22
Skuse rubbish again. Facts just get in the way. Best spell last year was when he was injured. Came off last week and won 3 - 0. Midfield overrun almost every game. But he's terrific!!!

tractorboybig added 15:50 - Nov 22
its a pity the midfield, defence and management are crap


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