Doncaster Rovers: Grant McCann reveals key to recent Scrooge-like defending

Doncaster Rovers boss Grant McCann says his team's Scrooge-like defending is down to a change of mindset.

Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 12:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 12:33 pm
Grant McCann

Rovers have kept four successive clean sheets and conceded just twice in their last seven games in all competitions.

After conceding just four goals in their opening six games of the season they went 18 games without keeping a clean sheet '“ and were shipping far too many from set pieces.

Rovers have since ditched their man-marking system at set plays.

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Instead, they are now employing a hybrid mix of zonal and man marking which encourages defenders to both take responsibility for their zone and attack the ball.

And McCann has been delighted with the overall impact of the change. 

'I'm really pleased [with the defensive record in recent games],' he said.

'And I think it's all down to the change of mindset at set plays.

'If you look back at a lot of the goals we conceded prior to this six or seven games a lot of them were coming from set plays.

'It's a credit to Paul Gerrard [goalkeeping coach] and the work he's done with the boys on the training ground.

'And bigger credit to the group for buying into it and defending like they have done.

'Bristol Rovers and Scunthorpe both tried to do it a different way and work short corners but we're getting people out and blocking. 

'We're putting their bodies on the line and that's what you need to do.

'Clean sheets have come from that, yes.

'But they've also come from the hard work of the front three, their press, the midfield three, their press, and the back four and Lawsy blocking and getting their heads and bodies in the way of things.'

He added: 'It all came from second phase and third phase set plays.

'We were very good for ten games at the start of the season. We didn't concede many from set plays and we didn't concede many full stop.

'And then we went through that spell of three or four games when we were conceding a lot from set plays.

'We've changed it around and it's credit to my staff. We've identified it and we've delivered it.'