New Millwall head coach Joe Edwards has promised that he will not be implementing a super-quick overhaul of the team’s playing style.
The 37-year-old did an extensive interview with Millwall TV+ after his appointment earlier today.
The Lions have secured the England U20 head coach as Gary Rowett’s successor.
Edwards has had excellent success at youth level with Chelsea before moving on to the first-team staff and working under Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel.
He opted to leave the Blues to become Lampard’s assistant boss when the former England international took the Everton job.
Now Edwards is striking out on his own as the main man.
“First of all I do want to acknowledge what went before,” he told Millwall TV+. “I did my Pro License with Gary Rowett, so I know Gary. I remember talking years ago with Gary about his preferred style of play. His is probably quite different to mine but I full, full well know that there isn’t a right or wrong way of playing football – no one way is better than the other. You can be successful in many different ways of playing and I’ve seen that with the different managers I’ve worked with.
“For Gary and the guys that have been around it in recent years, to achieve what they have achieved – four consecutive top-half finishes in the Championship – in a league that is one of the most competitive and difficult in the world, that’s not easy to do. I’ve got full respect for all the work that has gone before me and been done.
“It’s a long time for one group to work together and then change has happened.
“Change can sometimes feel like a new lease of life and a breath of fresh air. What I’d like to see is us be proactive with the ball. The reason I’m conscious not to use the word possession too much is that I’m not an obssessive possession-based coach where we have to have 65 or 70 per cent of the ball – you can have 70 per cent of the ball in a game and not play well, I know that.
“From my impression as part of this process – I’ve been watching a lot of Millwall and particularly this season – I see a group that are hard-working, incredibly well-organised without the ball and hard to create a chance against, typically, in a good game. There is maybe a bit more in there, with the ball.
“I want us to be more on the front foot and proactive from an attacking point of view and that starts on the training pitch. A lot of the work we do in these early days and weeks will be stuff where it is players getting on the ball, thinking forward and playing forward. Taking care of possession. I want the training to be enjoyable – if you’ve got people out there enjoying what they are doing then it is a big thing.
“Often we can get so fixated on philosophy and tactics. We have to remember everyone around this game, at one point, all these players fell in love with football with a ball at their feet.
“When fans come to The Den although I know there is an absolute base requirement that we have to tackle, fight and be difficult to beat, I think we want to be a little bit more as well. We want to take the game to teams, be on the front foot and creating numerous chances. That is the vision.
“When you have a group that has worked together consistently for as long as this group have, I don’t think quick change and immediate change will be particularly smooth or easy. There will definitely be bumps in the road. I won’t be looking to revamp the team completely overnight. There are some players in this group that are very used to what they are doing and I completely respect that.
“We have to make it as comfortable as we can to be maximising their capabilities.”
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