Daggers boss Still: We couldn’t pressurise Rochdale’s diamond
DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE manager John Still admitted he was out-thought tactically in the early stages of Saturday’s defeat at Rochdale.
Home boss Keith Hill sprung a surprise by utilising a diamond formation in midfield, which allowed his side to play short, sharp, attractive football, while his full-backs overlapped readily.
Still said he had set up his own team to deal with a different shape and, by the time he was able to re-group at half time, they were already two goals behind.
“I think that they certainly were much better than us in the first half, much better, and we hung on a bit,” said the 60-year-old.
“In the second half I thought it was us with the ascendancy, but from a long way back. When you’re behind you’ve got to chase the game and when we chased the game they got a third goal. But we still kept going and I think we’ll be a little bit disappointed that we didn’t get something. I’ll also take into account that the other team has played well.”
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He added: “They took us by surprise with their system – by playing a diamond – and they played it very well. With the greatest respect we didn’t expect it and it was hard to overcome.
“When we adjusted, we dealt with it quite comfortably and, in the end, they changed their system which actually surprised me. They changed and went to 4-4-2 and we dealt with it very well.
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“I could say that’s a learning curve, as if that happens again we can just slip into it, but it’s not always quite as easy as that to be honest.”
Part of the reason for Daggers’ near turnaround of the score was thanks to some tactical tinkering from Still in the second half, when he switched forward Gavin Tomlin into a deeper position.
Having deemed it a success, he says he may now deploy the goal-shy striker in midfield more often.
“Their midfield players want to get forward, but Gavin could have given them a problem by him getting forward,” explained Still.
“He’s got very clever feet, made some good runs forward and passed the ball well for us and we needed that.
“We just needed to pass the ball a little better and I think the three of them, Romain (Vincelot), Peter (Gain) and Gavin did a very good job in there. I’m very pleased.”