Millwall head coach Neil Harris on importance of formation flexibility

Millwall head coach Neil Harris has talked about the need to be flexible in terms of formation.

The Lions were predominantly a 4-4-2 in the 46-year-old’s successful first permanent spell in charge.

Gary Rowett, who succeeded Harris, and Joe Edwards, sacked earlier this month, both preferred to go with a back three and utilise wing-backs.

Harris started Saturday’s 2-1 win at Southampton with a flat back four but added that it was tweaked as the hosts pressed for a leveller in the second period.

“I think it’s safe to say that a large percentage of my managerial career has been a back four,” the Lions’ all-time record goalscorer told the South London Press. “I did play a back five sometimes at Millwall. I certainly did at Gillingham. At Cardiff there was the odd time I changed to a five.

“Every opponent is different. The game moves so fast and everyone has a different way to build and attack the game.

“We started with a four but a lot of the time in the second half on Saturday we ended up as a five, especially when I brought Brooke (Norton-Cuffy) on. Little things like that might’ve gone unnoticed by the fanbase, that we almost ended up as a five in the second half anyway.

“When I said that I’ve adapted the way I am as well – maybe sometimes before it was a four and that was it and nothing else. If I need to play a five then I will play a five, home or away.

“If I need to change to a five or a four during a game, then so be it. As coaches and managers we are going to get things wrong. It’s how honest you are with your judgement and how quickly you adapt.

“You have to adapt to opponents and what they are doing. At the weekend Southampton went very narrow and through the middle of the pitch and then decided to go a lot wider. We adapted by bringing Brooke on and that changed the way we defended. Right or wrong, we got the result.”

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