The shape of the future

Making his point: Gary Megson says the players have to perform or they'll be out.
Making his point: Gary Megson says the players have to perform or they'll be out.
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GARY Megson has dropped the broadest of hints that he intends to stick by a 4-5-1 system despite a revival coming unstuck last Saturday.

The Owls boss switched to a 4-4-2 formation after the team had gone two down by half time.

But Megson remains unshaken in his belief that it is the way that players perform, and not the pattern in which they are loosely arranged, that dictates a team’s performance.

He could well start again at Oldham tonight with Gary Madine as the only recognised striker in the side - and it would be no surprise, in view of two sound displays by the team in the last two away games, and Megson’s views on tactics:

“In the last nine or 10 games where this club has played 4-4-2, we have lost seven and drawn three.

“If we keep doing that we’ll get relegated. So we’ve got to find a way of getting results, disregarding formations, and getting the right players, hopefully square pegs in square holes, to enable us to get the results that everybody wants.

“We have only won a game when we have been playing 4-5-1, when we’ve got a bit of security in front of what is admittedly a fragile back four. We have to find a way of getting that solid.

“It’s not about formations. Arguably the best squad in Europe is Barcelona. You tell me, once they get that ball, what formation they play. They’re all looking for the ball, all brilliant in possession, and really they just play it off the cuff and it’s fantastic to watch.

“It’s about players and how those players perform.”

Megson accepts that everyone is entitled to their opinion but he says: “The only opinion with any consequence is mine, therefore it becomes a decision. We have to accept that in my view the way [system] the team play isn’t the be all and end all. What matters more than anything is the players that you’ve got.

“Players have to perform. As in everybody’s job, if you don’t deliver then you’ll find yourself certainly not at this club and arguably not in that profession.

“Being a footballer is no different to any other profession.

“If you do your job wrong then they’ll get somebody else who can come in and do it, then you have to move on.

“As a footballer, I don’t make any apologies and or bones about it.

“If the players here don’t do what we’re expecting them to do and what they get paid for, they go somewhere else.

“If they do it again at another club, they find themselves in another profession, not football.

“Because being a footballer is a fantastic life but there is consequence to it. You’ve got to perform and you’ve got to win.”

Matchfacts

The Teams

LATICS (possible): Amos; Lee, Todd, Trotman, Black; Morais, Furman, Stephens, Taylor; Feeney, Tounkara (4-4-2).

OWLS (possible): Weaver; Hinds, R Johnson, Beevers, Spurr; Sedgwick, Osbourne, Coke, Miller, Teale; Madine (4-5-1).

The Referee

Phil Crossley (Kent):Refereed the Owls’ 2-0 home defeat against Hudderfield in November, and Huddersfield’s 1-1 draw at Yeovil last Saturday, when he sent off Terriers defender Lee Peltier in the 14th minute - one of seven red cards brandished by this ref this season.