Andy Butler reveals style shift in bid to make Doncaster Rovers less predictable
Doncaster Rovers were a little more direct than usual against Gillingham - and Andy Butler was delighted.
The Rovers boss has continued to prioritise a possession-based approach from his side and that will remain his focus.
But Butler wants to avoid Rovers from being too easy to read by opposition teams and is keen to ensure they can switch up their approach when required in matches.
Gillingham pressed Rovers aggressively during Saturday’s 2-2 draw, denying them the space to play through the thirds up the pitch. While in the past Rovers may have persisted with the approach more stubbornly, on this occasion they at times looked to find the front men earlier, or use the pace in the wide areas to latch onto balls into the channels.
And being multifaceted is something Butler is determined to encourage.
“I said it to the players during the week that we need to be unpredictable and I thought we were,” he said.
“We mixed it in behind at times and also playing through.
“It goes to show the players’ versatility and asking them where they want to play and how they want to play.
“I keep talking about tempo with our play. We became predictable and that is something I don’t want my team to be in its approach.
“It’s about mixing things up and not always inviting the pressure onto us.
“Even though we cope with the pressure well, it’s about having different ways to play though a press, over a press, around a press. It’s something we’ll look at.
“Off the ball it’s something I believe we can be more compact and we’ll be working on that.
“I’m pleased with that side of it, and the amount of balls they defended at Gillingham was magnificent.
“There’s a never say die attitude and I thought we could have sneaked it at the end.”
Butler expects to have a full squad to choose from for this weekend’s trip to MK Dons with John Bostock poised for a return.
And he believes the improvement in his side will continue the stronger the squad gets.
“I think once you get the full squad back we’re a force to be reckoned with,” he said.
“The players build relationships again and get back into positions.
“They all know their positions and responsibilities.”