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Doncaster Rovers: Darren Ferguson defends 3-5-2 system and downplays formation debate

Darren Ferguson
Darren Ferguson

Darren Ferguson has defended his three at the back system and downplayed the debate about which formation suits Doncaster Rovers best.

Rovers’ boss faced a backlash from fans after switching to 3-5-2 for Tuesday’s 4-2 defeat at Walsall and there have been calls for him to return to 4-4-2 against Fleetwood Town today.

“I think it’s an easy thing to say,” Ferguson said in response. “We’ve played three at the back plenty of times this season and won games with it.

“The last time we played it was probably at Bristol Rovers, we won 1-0, kept a clean sheet. We’ve had clean sheets with three at the back.

“Obviously I respect what fans are saying and I always will,” he added.

“But I don’t think the main topic of conversations should be about formations.

“Everyone knows what formations I play.

“And if it’s all right when you’re winning games then I don’t think it should be thrown at you when you’re losing games.

“It comes down to going back to what we’re really about as a team and playing as a team.

“On Tuesday we were far too disjointed and that was the top and bottom of it.

“We need to make sure there’s a big improvement in that and make sure we do the basics better than Fleetwood. You hope that’s enough to get you the result with the ability we’ve got, because clearly we have got ability.”

Explaining his decision to go 3-5-2 at Walsall, Ferguson said: “As a manager you always look at different ways of playing and the players fully understand each system.

“On Tuesday the idea was to freshen things up by changing the formation, which is something I believe in, to get Blair and Rowe in wider areas and more advanced, and to get the three in midfield which we could do slightly differently because Coppinger wasn’t playing.

“Unfortunately we never got a chance of letting that work because within 20-odd minutes we were 3-0 down.

“As a manager you pick a team, you pick a formation, you’re always going to get criticized if your team lose. That’s part and parcel of the game and it’s something as a manager you’ve always got to accept.

“The first thing I’ll always do is look at where I’ve gone wrong, if I have gone wrong.

“I would say so if I felt that was the reason we lost the game but I don’t think that was the reason. I think the reason was we lost such soft goals.”