Caldwell tells players they must be more ruthless
Gary Caldwell has challenged his side to be more ruthless after a performance of two very different halves tonight at the Proact.
The Spireites were beaten 3-1 by Rotherham United, largely thanks to a poor first half that saw them go 2-0 down.
It was a much improved and somewhat changed Town side after the break however.
Caldwell let his side know in no uncertain terms that the first half wasn’t up to scratch.
“The first half is unacceptable, I said that at half-time and made changes,” he said.
“I probably could have brought more players off.
“Second half I thought we were excellent, played on the front foot, played with aggression, started tackling and running.
“We got back into the game and if we had scored in the spell we had I think we could have won it.
“I’m delighted with the second half performance and delighted to learn as much as I did tonight.”
The manager was particularly displeased at the ease with which the Millers created chances in the first half.
And he wants his team to do more to stop their opponents from attacking.
“I’m disappointed with the manner of shots at our goal never mind the goals,” he said.
“Every time the team wins the ball they have a shot at our goal and we don’t get that many opportunities because teams defend properly, not just the defenders - from the front to the middle to the back.
“We’re too nice, we lose the ball and the team seems to part and teams get shots at goal.
“We have to tackle more, foul more and be a more ruthless team.
“That has to come quickly.
“We’ve got 10 days to realise that when we’re playing for points we have to be a more aggressive and more ruthless team, do whatever it takes to win games.”
Caldwell took the opportunity to look at a back four tonight, having played a 3-5-2 formation for almost all of pre-season.
The system was secondary to the players’ will to battle, in his eyes.
“It’s something I had always planned to do throughout pre-season. We’ve done a few days work on it and obviously need a few more.
“The midfield balance wasn’t right but I said at half-time forget tactics, the performance wasn’t about tactics it was about desire, hunger, being more aggressive.
“We played with the handbrake on and didn’t let that off until the second half when we made the changes.
“Then we suddenly looked a good team.”
Two subs who made a big different after the interval were Gozie Ugwu, who ploughed a fruitful furrow up the right and on-loan Sheffield United man Louis Reed.
Their impact was highlighted by the boss at full-time.
“I thought they were fantastic,” he said.
“Gozie won the ball back and caused a real threat down the right hand side.
“Reedy got on the ball like I know he can and started pulling the strings. That allowed our full-backs to get higher up the pitch and we started playing in their half.”