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McDonald: Tactical shift has made Millwall harder to beat

© Edmund Boyden
© Edmund Boyden

SCOTT McDonald believes Steve Lomas' decision to pack the midfield will make Millwall harder to beat over the course of the season.

Having started the campaign using a 4-4-2 formation, Lomas has since settled on playing 4-2-3-1, a tactic that is popular in the Premier League.

And McDonald, who played as the lone striker against QPR last weekend, feels the Lions are well-suited to their current system.

He said: "When we have played 4-4-2, unfortunately it hasn't worked for us and left us quite open, especially at the start of the season. When we switched to 4-2-3-1, that's when we've had the most success and picked up points.

"This system does not leave you as open in the middle of the park, which is where most games are won and lost at this level. It is a trend now; a lot of teams are playing with three behind the striker.

"Football is a game of tactics and having some extra bodies in the middle has definitely helped us tighten up."

But McDonald admits Millwall are still adjusting to a new way of playing under Lomas, who has had a long list on injuries to deal with during the first three months of the season.

He said: "I think we've used the highest number of players within the Championship this year which shows a couple of things buy premarin nasal spray really, the main one being that we've had quite a lot of injuries – myself, David Forde, Mark Beevers and Liam Trotter to name a few.

"That has hampered the manager in being able to pick a consistent team and his strongest XI. You don't want to be chopping and changing all the time – players needing a rest and dips in form aside – but the gaffer has been frustrated by injuries. Hopefully we can find some consistency over the coming weeks."

The Lions travel to Reading on Saturday looking to make amends for back-to-back thrashing away from home and McDonald says Lomas' side need to show the same resolve on the road as they have done at The Den in recent weeks.

"The Derby game aside, which was a complete shambles, we're always in games at The Den with the crowd behind us and demanding certain levels from us," said the striker.

"It's when we go away from home that we need to start picking up points, just like we did against Brighton, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton. We need more performances like that away from home.

"We can't be gifting sides three points. Against Reading we will bring our qualities to the game but first and foremost be hard to beat and solid defensively. Hopefully we can pose a threat at the other end as well."

Staff

(@NewsAtDen)

12 thoughts on “McDonald: Tactical shift has made Millwall harder to beat

  • October 25, 2013 at 10:52
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    If these are his thoughts then he has identified what we have all been saying for some time and I hope that his team mates get to read this before tomorrows game,so they know where they need to play and what we want from a Millwall player.

    Lets hope that they put together another display laike last week but tighter in the middle than when we let in the first. COYL!!!!

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  • October 25, 2013 at 11:04
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    I like the 4-2-3-1 formation as McDonald has mentioned as it can make the team defensively compact in the centre of the park as well as pose a threat going forward but for the first time ever I think, we have some serious striker quality in the team – McDonald and Morison are both proven and capable of scoring 15 goals each in a championship season, then we have Waghorn who is still learning and growing in confidence and could easily get 7-10 goals given a consistent run in the first team, Keogh who does seem a little lost this season for form but we know he is a very intelligent player and can score at least 7 goals and finally there is Easter who is a real natural goal poacher and will always pose a threat in the same way Lisbie use to do for us and is doing now for Orient.

    There is just so much strength up top it would be tough to only select just one of those five strikers on match day. Trotter is another threat but from the midfield so it is a given that he will always play behind the striker in the middle position of the 3 just behind the lone striker and the likes of Martin and Bailey can also be a threat in that position. Strikers need to be playing consistently to find form and given the vast array of options at our disposal I am just not sure we would wholly benefit (from an attacking sense not defensive) from the 4-2-3-1 formation.

    4-4-2 is old news in today’s modern game but now we have our squad almost at full strength we could potentially benefit from it now or go with 3-5-2 formation and have Abdou or Derry in there breaking up play in the middle protecting the defence, we can then accommodate two quality strikers from the five at our disposal not including striker options to come off the bench where we could be potentially using four of the five options to find us the right combinations for goals.

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    • October 25, 2013 at 11:25
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      @Bexley_Lion: agree with everything you've said apart from the 3 at the back we're struggling with 4 some games i think we would get caught far to often down the flanks it would make us easy to score against i feel which we don't need more of at the moment plus we don't have the quickest defenders plus shittu and robbo looking less mobile more and more each game so id say always have ya four at the back purely for saftey and width at the back. go 4-2-3-1 and stick with it then i feel we will be a above mid table team p*** easy this season i think 3 at the back or a 4-4-2 will be suicide for us mate but i do get what you're saying being able to accommodate two strikers but if we play maccy up front on his own with trotter , woolford and waggy supporting him there are plenty of goals from four or five different players rather than putting all the owness on the strikers

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    • October 26, 2013 at 06:36
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      @Bexley_Lion:
      I disagree with nearly all of this,
      By clogging the centre midfield we encourage teams to attack us precisely where we are most vulnerable - ie down the flanks where our fullbacks have for some time been notoriously unreliable, even though at the moment Malone looks an improvement on the plainly uncomfortable Lowry trying to be a left back.
      Meanwhile going forward we are going to be increasingly predictable as teams prepare for our launching ourselves at their centre with untold passes - passes which most the midfielders, including the experienced players brought in by Lomas look alarmingly unable to produce with much consistency.
      So far as the attackers are concerned Waghorn looks completely out of touch as a wider element of the back-up three. Not only is he wasted there he also struggles to beat his man - so yet again they know fine well exactly what he's going to do.
      4-5-1 also implies a strong target man up front who can hold the ball before laying it off to one of the three supporting attackers. We have Scott. He is extremely good as the quick second striker whilst we have Waghorn and , should he pull his finger out, Morison who ought to both be capable of combining well with the wee jock.
      But not one of the strikers we have available is really fit for purpose as the sole striker in a 4-2-3-1
      So I'm afraid I find this enthusiasm for the new formation pretty inexplicable.
      PS As it happens the formation also bores the bejabbers out of me but I could live with that if I thought the players were right for it.

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  • October 25, 2013 at 11:15
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    we definitely did start with a 4-4-2 and it definitely is not the way to go judging by performances and general game style plus bad results i feel 4-2-3-1 is a 100% the way to go for me at least , but saying that i was under the impression we was playing more of a 4-3-3 system with the ball and a 4-5-1 without and after listening to lomas on lions live that was basically what he was saying ? i also think with a 4-2-3-1 you don't need to chop and change formation from home to away games only personel to change whether we're gonna be attacking or a more defensive type of style against the likes of bigger and better teams coz if we play 4-3-3 one week then 4-5-1 the next week we're gonna have any structure and gelling the team will take a lot longer because not all our players fit into every formation as scotty say's they're just getting used to this system and if you look across some of the best passing teams across the leagues such as arsenal,chelsea,swansea and burnley, leicester, blackpool and nottingham forrest in our league all use this system and they're all up the top in their league and look solid for a reason so im convinced that is where our problems lie not having a consistent formation coz it seems like no one really knows what it is ?

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    • October 26, 2013 at 06:41
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      @steveomfc5:
      We have been at different matches then cos I haven't seen us start a game with two wide players in a 4-4-2 so far this season.

      I've seen wide players asked to play inside in abundance but virtually all the wing play came from the full backs - until recently Dunne and Lowry, both basically frustrated centre-backs - overlapping without support and then labouring to get back when they made a hash of it.

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      • October 26, 2013 at 18:11
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        @The Humble One: lomas played 4-4-2 in the first 3 to 4 games it didn't work so he went with 5 in midfield then 4-3-3 now today back to 5 in the mid which works better makes us harder to beat. 4-4-2 is pointless unless you got a perfect partnership which we don't have, morro and mcdonald have the potential but all the time we got goals from woolford , trotter, waghorn and rarely bailey to, then there is no point we're working well with the 5 in midfield at the moment

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  • October 25, 2013 at 11:22
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    Wow...... There's no pulling the wool over your eyes is there Scotty!!!

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  • October 25, 2013 at 11:53
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    I like what he says, but we need at least one new central defender (preferably right footed) to play alongside Beavers, who we have missed. I think Robo is looking vulnerable and was exhausted in the later part of the game against QPR and Shittu is not at his best either!!!

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    • October 25, 2013 at 11:56
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      @leemark: lowry is the way to go when they're both fit

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  • October 25, 2013 at 18:43
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    YES, YES, YES...............GAMES ARE ONLY WON BY SCORING GOALS,
    SO IF MORE ARE GOING FORWARD, THEN MORE GAME ARE MILLWALL'S
    KEEP IT UP...............SL [ BEFORE YOU GO !!! ]

    " NO ONE LIKES, US WEDON'T CARE "
    "STORMIN' NORMAN" IS STILL RIDIN'.............

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  • October 26, 2013 at 16:29
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    I think we should've held this headline until we've won a game............1.0 down at Reading as I type 🙁

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