Yesterday, Gary Rowett was announced as Neil Harris’s replacement as Millwall manager. The young manager has high hopes for the club and wants to hit the ground running to turn around this season’s poor start.
Millwall sit 16th in the Championship after 13 matches. Rowett needs to stabilise Millwall as a strong Championship side and then push for promotion. Too often Millwall have been dragged into relegation scraps and bounced between the Championship and League One.
So, here are THREE things he can make immediately…
Millwall have mainly used a 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2 this season and have conceded the sixth most goals in the league. Looking at the goals they’ve conceded, I think Rowett will be able to make changes and improvements quickly. At the moment, the defence and midfield don’t work and move as a unit.
Allowing the opposition to find space, often in wide areas and the back post. Awareness and marking in the box has been an issue. Defensive drilling and coaching from Rowett will hopefully able to sort this. If he chooses a low block system, organising the two banks of four and getting them to work together may take some time but will be effective.
Rowett talks about how he wants to change the mentality of the club, part of this will be concentration and decision making. At the moment, defensive errors have cost them at times and cutting these out is key.
Can you see Millwall being promoted under Gary Rowett?
Control the game
Too often Millwall don’t have enough control of the game. Dominating possession stats doesn’t make a good team, but Millwall need to work to get more of a foothold in matches instead of constantly being attacked.
They’ve only averaged 41% of possession this season and struggled to convert this into open play chances. Despite having less of the ball, their opponents have counter-attacks twice as often as Millwall do. They’ve relied on set pieces at times and need to create more from open play.
Keeping it simple
Rowett is an analytical, tactically flexible manager. He doesn’t have a fixed system and style he forces on every team. He reacts to what’s in front of him, whether it’s his own side or the opposition. Rowett likes to adapt this system to his teams’ strengths and weaknesses and how he thinks he can best approach each match.
Until Rowett can bring in some reinforcements in January or the summer, coaching the basics and reducing errors is an obvious change. Then he can shape this team more to the way he wants. He may implement a press of sorts but overall needs to inject some creativity into the attack to be able to create from open play as well as create effective counter-attacking chances.