Date published: 29 July 2014
WHERE Athletic lead, Manchester United follow . . . though it is not yet clear whether manager Lee Johnson will continue with his pioneering experiment at Colchester.
At Morecambe last week, Athletic took to the field in a formation featuring three central defenders and a pair of wing-backs.
Two days later, in his first game in charge of United, Louis van Gaal imposed the same structure as the Premier League giants defeated LA Galaxy 3-0.
Johnson (right) continued with the same set-up at Barrow and emphasised that it could come in useful in 2014-15 — particularly given the midfield talents of current team captain Liam Kelly, Mike Jones and Timothee Dieng, who was outstanding at Holker Street at the weekend despite the poor surface.
“We have got to have options in the bag and you can use the three-at-the-back in a number of different ways,” said Athletic’s manager.
“If you believe you are the better side with the ball, it is a good system. To get a game back, sometimes it is a good system.
“(Barrow) was a good game to try to work on that. The beauty of 3-5-2 is there are so many natural angles with it.
“We probably wouldn't have played 3-5-2 on that pitch in a competitive game.
‘But I am still trying to get a few principles installed
tactically as we are going to have to use a few different
formations this season.”
One fly in the ointment in terms of that system is the possible absence of Adam Lockwood for an extended period of time.
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