ALL football matches are ultimately won or lost by the actions on the pitch......but this Saturday’s win over Barnet owed much to the work done by John Sheridan and his team in preparation for this crunch game.
Fellow strugglers Barnet had been in decent form prior to their visit and, under enigmatic manager Edgar Davids, they attempt to play an attritional style of passing football. Coach Gary Owers recently watched Barnet win and described it as ‘passing them to death’.
In order to combat this, John and the team set their 11 up in a version of a 4-3-3 system with an emphasis on pressurising Barnet and preventing them from settling in.
Broadly, it worked. In the second half, the Pilgrims got deeper and invited Barnet on for the first time, but, in the main, it was a successful afternoon’s work for thinking your way to victory.
“We played a different formation,” said John. “I thought Andres [Gurrieri] came in and did the things he can do. He’s comfortable on the ball.
“We played a 4-3-3 and we worked on how they were going to play. We pressured the ball a lot better than we have done, put them under pressure and were winning things in the opposition’s half which gives us a better chance of causing them problems.
“We worked on the system, on how they play, and I felt we did it well, pressuring them from the front. We invited the keeper to give it to the back four and then move quickly as a team, not just individuals.
“That’s the way I want us to play: a bit of endeavour; a bit of will to win, I thought we passed it when we had to pass it and we were a threat. We had good opportunities to score more goals.
“I thought we worked really hard and you could see that one or two lads were tired at the end. We got our just rewards.”