Millwall captain: Change of formation backfired against Boro

a dunne 938
© Millwall FC

ALAN Dunne admitted Millwall's tactics backfired after they suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough.

Dunne branded the scoreline "unacceptable" and said the Lions are unlikely to start another game playing 3-5-2, a formation which Boro ruthlessly exposed in the first half.

They were 4-0 up before the interval, with Jelle Vossen scoring a 23-minute hat trick.

Scott McDonald pulled one back after the break but the visitors underlined their complete dominance by adding a fifth goal 60 seconds later.

And Dunne said afterwards: "It's disappointing – unacceptable. We tried a formation that we've not tried before. We'd only worked on it for two days and it didn't work.

"It backfired and it wasn't for us. We'll move on from that and I don't think we'll be playing it again.

"We were trying something different and thought that with Andy Wilkinson coming back we could try with three centre halves and two wing backs

"We thought it might give us something different because we've been finishing games that way of late and doing well.

"I think it works when it's off the cuff but when we actually work on it and it's structured, it isn't the same.

"In our last three or four games we finished with a 3-5-2 but again it was off the cuff and it worked for us and got us back into things.

"On Saturday we started with it and it backfired. I think that's twice we've played 3-5-2 now and lost: today and against Birmingham last year. Both games we got beat.

"It's something we tired. We learn from it and move on.

"People have been crying out for us to play that way for a while but a flat back four would probably have been better – we might have been more confident with that.

"We're still trying to find our best team at the moment; you need a settled back four in this league and I think that's what we're hoping to have very soon."

Saturday's result continued a trend of heavy home defeats in recent seasons. Derby scored five at The Den in 2013-14, as did Peterborough the year before.

"We have one of these a year," added Dunne. "This is our one for the year. I can guarantee it won't happen again and we won't concede five again.

"In the last 10 years I've been here I think we've had one result like this a year. I don't know what happens but it's just one of those things that seems to fall into place.

"Yes, it's unacceptable and yes it's not right but we have to move on from it.

"We have got another game on Friday [away at Brighton] and if we win that we will go 16th. That's how easily things can change in this league.

"I don't think it's a crisis at all, it's just something we tried and it didn't work. The Den is a tough place to play and this shows that we have to be at our best to play at this place.

"Boro were very good. Their movement up front was very good and their movement hurt us, but I think tactically we might have just got it wrong at the back.

"The early goal was always going to make it hard. But Middlesbrough were a very good side, well organised by a foreign coach and you can see that they had talent in their team."

Asked what manager Ian Holloway had said in the dressing room after the game, Dunne said: "He lost his rag, he went mad and he was disappointed.

"But he wants us to stick together because it's not a crisis but. The goals were disappointing and we have to eradicate them.

"He wanted us to win the second half and show some pride. We scored and they scored within 30 seconds so he was disappointed in that but we move on.

"Things can change very quickly. I know next week we will bounce back and be a different team – you won't recognise the same team next week."

Millwall's players were booed off – some of them for the first time in their careers at The Den.

"The fans just want to see you try," Dunne dded. "It didn't feel like there was that chemistry between the fans and the team.

"It was flat before the game and we didn't start well. I think there was only one tackle in the first 20 minutes and that was a foul by me.

"This is Millwall – you need to get the crowd behind very early on with tackles, headers, shots and crosses and players are only learning that and experiencing it now.

"You need to set a tempo from the off, you can't wait until you're 2-0 down to start trying to set a tempo.

"I think players are learning that it can be a tough place to play when things aren't great but there's no better place when they're behind you.

"We have to work out a formula to get them on our side early on because that chemistry’s massive at this club.

"It's still early days and we're not halfway through the season. I still think we'll finish in the top half."

Alex Aldridge

(@accordingtoaldo)

50 thoughts on “Millwall captain: Change of formation backfired against Boro

  • December 8, 2014 at 08:43
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    Stating the f****** obvious Dunny

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    • December 8, 2014 at 10:15
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      Be nice to see the so called captain leading his team and b********* them when they do something wrong instead of trying to hide away. Notice whats on your arm Dunney and lead the team!

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  • December 8, 2014 at 08:53
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    Two days practice of a formation before playing a promotion contender!
    It's beyond parody, keep it simple 442, we don't have the level of player to adapt at these timescales and in fact many are exposed routinely whatever system as they are div 1 quality.

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    • December 8, 2014 at 10:41
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      @wongo: Totally agree, 'borough played 442 and they do not keep chopping and changing the side. Nevertheless they do have a far stronger squad and a better manager.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 08:57
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    Trying something new, that you have only been working on for two days, on a game you have to win. Don't think a schoolboys team would have tried that. And sorry to say but you are part of the problem, it's pretty easy really, two strong centrehalfs, like every other team seems to have, two strong full backs ,like every team seems to have. Play them week in and week out, if someone has a bad couple of games,put someone else in. It's called football management, you can buy books about it. SIMPLES ! as the meerkat says.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 08:59
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    Shittu and beavers are our best pairing at the back what have they done wrong by not starting them anothe mess holloway got into stay wilth our best players in the rght postions , Willaims is not a center back and hyavibg no wingers dont help

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  • December 8, 2014 at 09:12
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    There is absolutely no way I can sit and freeze my nuts off while watching a bunch of nohopers managed by a Tommy Cooper tribute humiliate everyone associated with my beloved MFC. Season ticket will be taking a break until either the weather or the team warm up.

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    • December 8, 2014 at 10:16
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      @MFCAZZ: I am feeling the same way.JB wants to see bigger crowds ?
      Sorry JB but with this juggler in charge the crowds are likely (and are) going to go down.
      No way will the floating fans turn up to watch this garbage.

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      • December 8, 2014 at 17:56
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        @Longfield Lion:
        Who needs the floating fans? Not me or anyone else I know for that matter. If people only want to come when times are good then they can stay well away for all I care!

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  • December 8, 2014 at 09:26
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    Don't worry, we never play the same formation two-games running anyway. Sometimes it even seems to change several times in a game. All part of having an experienced manager and quality players who can inter-change positions or tactics at any time.

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    • December 8, 2014 at 09:50
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      @Micky Lions: Good post Mick, I agree that's what IH seems to have in mind, lots of players all of a similar standard earning a good weekly scratch so he can play different players in any formation and get a decent performance, it just don't work, if we are to stay up this season it will come down to our defence, it seems these days that the holding midfield players are the key to keeping things tight so start from there with Williams and either Abdou or Bailey when he's back of course and stick to one formation, players in there on form

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  • December 8, 2014 at 09:34
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    For me, Ian Hollaway is contributing to his own downfall. With the exception of a few players, we have a very average squad of players who on there day and when they'll all working as a team can play well.
    However, all this chopping and changing isn't helping and has to stop NOW.
    Squad rotation and different systems / formations may work at clubs like Chelski / Man City because they have the in-depth quality to do that, WE DON'T.
    Hollaway, find you best starting 11 and fu#king to stick to it. The players looked absolutely lost on Saturday. You are already losing the backing of the fans, it won't be long until you lose the dressing room if you carry on with all this changing of formations and dropping players after they've had a half decent game.
    AND FFS, GET JIMMY ABDOU BACK IN THE TEAM.

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    • December 8, 2014 at 13:33
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      @Syd the Lion: absolutely nob on m8. I've been saying EXACTLY this to my mates in the CB end for weeks!!!!

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    • December 8, 2014 at 13:33
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      @Syd the Lion: absolutely spot on m8. I've been saying EXACTLY this to my mates in the CBL end for weeks!!!!

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  • December 8, 2014 at 09:38
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    Team changes and formations change each week...before too long regulars get fed up and vote with their feet...IH shut up and do what is right instead of courting publicity that gives the public ammunition

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  • December 8, 2014 at 09:40
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    Not a crisis? Ten points out of 15 games, Blackpool who are bottom have scored more points in that time period. It's a major crisis.

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    • December 8, 2014 at 12:49
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      @Bones:

      it's only a relative major crisis - last year with 8 games to go - now that was a crisis

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  • December 8, 2014 at 09:41
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    TOP HALF!
    so who are the 12 teams we will beat? you normally need 60pts for top half - just the odd 40 to get then - 11 wins and 7 draws from 26 games, right.

    not unless we buy 4 new players in January , which won't happen

    right now I would take 21st

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  • December 8, 2014 at 09:43
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    It's a bit of a worry at this stage of the season that we're still trying to find our best team and formation. Please keep it simple, where the players are comfortable in their positions and stick to the same starting eleven as much as possible.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 09:55
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    "We'd only worked on it for two days"
    That is crazy! No wonder they looked at sea. Have to agree, though, that Dunney is one of the problems in the back four. Shittu/Beevers is the combination, with Jimmy covering them and WIlliams or Powell as the playmaker.

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    • December 8, 2014 at 10:13
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      @junkmale: dunny is just one of the many problems a bigger one was playing webster, i haven't seen a worse centre back down the den for a long while, he was all over the show and for someone as tall as him s**t in the air. We need to sort the back for out asap and not keep changing it.

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      • December 8, 2014 at 11:58
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        @sdd: I know Webster had a nightmare on Saturday but his confidence must be shot to pieces by this season. He was first choice for Yeovil and their star man. He has been in and out of the team (more out than in) and has had to play with Dunne as his partner when he does get a game. I doubt two days of practicing in a back three exactly filled him with enthusiasm either. He might be one of those that needs a run to get to his best and he hasn't been given a chance by Holloway. It's got to be said that for all the good possession and attacking play, Ollie seems clueless about coaching defenders.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 10:00
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    There was so many things wrong with everything Dunney said there it hurts!
    Kenny may of hit a road block nearer the end of his time with the club but in the main he represented the stability that served us so well for over 5 years. Created a TEAM of die-hard triers with a dash of flair to create the winning moments to beat a team... hell to beat a player even! He played to the strengths of the team, made us hard to break-down and we defended from the front. It may of not been pretty at times but the crowd fed off the effort and in turn the team fed off that buzz created and dug deeper on the pitch.
    4-4-2!! - a formation that would suit Gregory and Fuller up top. Holloway said he cant play that formation because - in his words "we don't have the wingers (especially for the right-side)" to play that formation but that's just a ridiculous excuse if come the end of January and he still refuses to actively search and strengthen for that role, probably instead brings in another mediocre over '30 central midfield player. The only real time it seemed he really attempted to bring in a right-sided winger was with Sean Scannell and once that was rebuffed he never seemed to bothered to try other options for that role. We hurting Holloway and it's not going to get any better until we got some stability in player choice and formation. You should know that by now!

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  • December 8, 2014 at 10:06
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    forde, wilkinson,.shittu, beevers'malone
    martin, jimmy,williams,maggie
    gregory, mcdonald. bring on fuller if needed to win the game

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    • December 8, 2014 at 10:20
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      @DELBOY64: i like malone but only going foward i think millwall need to get a good solid defencive left back in, just to ride the storm at the moment.

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    • December 8, 2014 at 10:31
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      @DELBOY64: Not a bad shout Del but when you pick your captain he should be first name on the team sheet so like it or not Dunney would partner Shittu or Beevers and you have to play three in midfield so Macdonald at the back of the diamond, Gregory has to play and Fuller as you say as the impact sub

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      • December 8, 2014 at 11:18
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        @Weller: sorry not a pop at you, but just because he made Dunney captain, because he had a rant in the dressing room, which by the way, he does not seem to do on the pitch, that does not give him right , in my book anyway, the right to play week in week out, to the detriment of the team. And remember Dunne was not a regular in Jackets team, we had several right backs on loan, and what a difference Carlos Edwards made, and he's a right winger. He's just not up to it, has not been for a few years now. And to be fair, there's a few more there in the same boat, Easter for example and so it goes on.

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    • December 8, 2014 at 10:46
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      @DELBOY64: Please not Shittu, against the Brighton attack that has pace he will get sorely exposed. Webster and Beevers need a run in the team together. Shittu is a step backwards (Slow/immobile/poor touch and control), yes he is different to Dunney (Weak in the air/always likely to get a booking/gets caught out of position too often) but the two of them are struggling in this Division this season, neither one really offers the solution to our short or long term problems. Webster and Beevers are the best we have, I'd rather see Sid Nelson get a game, or recall Goodman than Shittu in the team.

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      • December 8, 2014 at 14:10
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        @glyngo: what Brighton attack ???????????

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  • December 8, 2014 at 10:22
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    NO S*** .SHERLOCK.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 10:34
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    Been the same all season dunney been s*** at the back probably been one or two games when we looked solid I think that was when shittu was at the back, 442 all the way through of season one thing you got right it's a close league at the moment 3 wins were back in the top half another 3 losses we are in trouble, get it sorted ollie

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  • December 8, 2014 at 10:40
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    This is one time when I think a complete change in personnel and formation is required, definitely no repeat of Saturday whatever happens.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 10:43
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    If we do not get a result at Brighton on Friday then surely this tin pot manager has to go.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 11:05
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    "People have been crying out for us to play that way for a while but a flat back four would probably have been better"

    Who are these people? I haven't been crying out for another change of formation and personnel. Like most I want a 442 set up with a settled side. Two days training on a formation prior to taking on the league leaders just proves that IH ego is bigger than the club. I hope Friday night is not another embarrassment.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 11:08
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    Dunney is stating the obvious but I think the problems are bigger and there are things that remain unsaid. It is now clear that Holloway is desperately trying to keep players happy and constantly rotating them, his focus is not entirely on winning matches. At the beginning he had the excuse 'two games per week', now we are only playing on Saturdays and this will be the case till the end of the year. That's the ideal opportunity to name a settled side - keep it simple and compact - but no... Millwall are at a crossroad where a number of key decisions need to be taken and I have the impression that Ollie is just delaying them.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 11:29
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    People walking out & people saying it's two cold to watch millwall. U sure this is when the team needs us to get behind them. I think we all know we ain't got the best players so they need all the help they can get. Come on wall lets give them our support. Coyl

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    • December 8, 2014 at 11:45
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      @block 28: I appreciate you are always going to get 'Good times' and 'Bad times' when following Millwall, but as a football club we are not progressing and haven't progressed for a long time. You will always get the hard core support that will follow there club through thick and thin, but you have to laugh when you hear Ambler saying we need bigger gates to increase revenues / reduce losses.
      Going to Millwall on a Saturday afternoon is my therapy and gets me away from the wife and kids for a few hours, but after the last few seasons, I wouldn't blame anyone for staying away.
      When you see people like Justin Hoyle being signed, you do wonder what the hell is going on behind the scenes. Whether we stay up or go down this year, a MASSIVE clear out is needed in the summer.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 11:59
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    A big problem it seems to me is the whole squad is lacking in PACE. To play three at the back is very risky if those three don't have a good "reader ", they need to be like DES WALKER (rapid) ,or you need three bull mastiffs to frighten everyone , all I see is donkeys. I like UPSON but one paced, i like POWELL but one paced, CHAPLOW &,Baileys legs have gone,WILLIAMS is class,but not quick.no pace up front. We'v got to find players who break with explosive pace and go past people like brentford,Bournemouth , Middlesbrough ,derby,etc, not keep tapping the ball around in circles. Those teams I've mentioned get in behind teams,we play in front of teams? I totally agree with all the posts that want JIMMY in the side,to pick that team on sat and have no ball winner/enforcer in it was poor,JIM would have tracked the runners and made it more difficult for borough . BENIK AFOBE was rapid when we had him,why did we not go back in for him ,how come he's at mk dons and scoring for fun. A lot of these decisions management are making seem very poor, surely FRED should be coming on for us,what are our scouts looking at, as I said the other week,let's have Peterborough's scouts cos they seem to find em.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 12:02
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    Why do all the players say we're playing well, and are close to going on a run? We're not! The only time we play well is when our midfield has it and they just pass it sideways between themselves, or backwards to a defender who's just gonna hoof it to fuller who isn't going to do anything. And that's only when the opposition aren't anywhere near them. How is that going to get you a 'decent run of results'?

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  • December 8, 2014 at 12:17
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    @block 28
    well said block,i was sitting there feeling sick and cold and totally P i s s e d off,but when Forde, Williams and one other player[sorry i cant recall who it was] came into the centre circle to clap us{they did not run away with their tail's between their legs].I thought then this team need's our support.
    With this post by dunne it show's just how mixed up IH mind is.
    in the past IH has said he aint got winger's well ian here is a couple of suggestion's.
    1 put martin on the right.
    2 bring back fred and put him on the left.
    3 put maggie up front with gregory.
    4 put o'brien on the bench so if one of the front two are not doing it,then he can replace them.
    5 above all fuller must not start.
    6 dunne is not a captain on the pitch,make him club captain by all means,but someone else as team captain please.
    You may think i am talking S h it but you IH are not doing that well yourself.but with my suggestion's at least we will have pace in our forward's to worry other team's back four and make opertunities for gregory,because fuller just aint doing that.

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    • December 8, 2014 at 13:04
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      @jim1222: I also don't understand what he means by not having Wingers. Martin is a winger isn't he, and we also have other wide players who can do the role - Gueye, Fred and Woolford. There must be a few quick wide players in L1 & 2 we could get in. This is just an excuse for not playing 4-4-2

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  • December 8, 2014 at 12:51
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    Agree Fred & Martin with maggs playing behind greggs. & play woolford or jimmy alongside Williams. Hav fuller McDonald & o'brien on the bench.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 13:14
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    IH should look at getting Adil Nabi (West Brom) on loan. A good young striker (20) who can frighten defences.

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  • December 8, 2014 at 13:15
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    Having been to every home game this season i have to say that was the worst 1st 45 mins I have seen from any Millwall team - me and two mates were having a heated discussion of who to blame, me pals are still blaming Jackett and Lomas for the mess, however, im in the opinion it can only be one person and that is Holloway his team line ups and formations are baffling, he has been here 12 months and still dont know the best 11 - he had all summer to clear out the hangers on but yet chose to give players like Easter and Marquis a years extension. Clearly the team dont either understand his tatics or they are worrying about there contracts, something clearly is not working, we are in virtually the same position as last season, another relegation dogfight I feel is coming this year, I cannot wait for Jan to see who we get. Sacking him wouldnt be the answer, who else is out there?

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    • December 8, 2014 at 18:07
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      @Block41: who else is out there? Teddy Sheringham?

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  • December 8, 2014 at 13:36
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    PANIC OVER
    I've just bought FIFA 15 sacked holloway and I'm in charge.
    There is a glitch in the game though and it made me sell all my strikers and replace them with injured midfielders
    On the plus side I have just enquires about 2 under 20's goalkeepers

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  • December 8, 2014 at 14:46
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    I think gueye is quite quick. But he is not a winger. Should be in McDonald's position scored the same goals and gueyes hardly played! Dunne at right back Friday please. What does wilkinson offer dunne doesn't! Shittu & Webster CH and Malone LB. Everyome has a bad game give webster another go he's been decent apart from that!

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  • December 8, 2014 at 15:52
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    Someone is telling porkies here. holloway said they have been training all week on the 352 formation, and dunne comes out and says its only been 2 days .

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  • December 8, 2014 at 18:21
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    One win in fifteen games....SACK THE MANAGER

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  • December 8, 2014 at 20:04
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    Dunne states

    "On Saturday we started with it and it backfired. I think that's twice we've played 3-5-2 now and lost: today and against Birmingham last year. Both games we got beat.

    "It's something we tired. We learn from it and move on.

    Well clearly nothing was learned the first time.

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