Nailing Down The Basics The Key

Gary Rowett

GARY ROWETT insists the ‘back to basics’ approach his Stoke City players have adopted has given them defensive solidity.

The Potters have kept clean sheets in four of their last six Championship outings ahead of Saturday’s date with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground (kick-off 3pm).

That’s in stark contrast to the start of the season when City found clean sheets hard to come by and conceded nine goals in their opening four games.

Speaking at his pre-Forest press conference, Rowett revealed: “We’ve worked to put things right at that end of the pitch. It’s down to plenty of work and a little bit of understanding.

“The big thing for us was to nail down the basics. Speak to players and work out what we need to do and don’t need to do because sometimes as a manager and a coach you are guilty of presuming that the simplest of things the players know.

“It’s just been a case of getting back to basics really. Organising things, working out when we start the pressure from the front rather than being bogged down by trying to press from the goalkeeper.

“We’ve dropped back a little bit - not massively, it’s not been that much - but we’ve just tried to work on it a little bit more and nail it down.

“It’s like anything – you get a clean sheet and it lifts the players’ confidence. We haven’t done anything monumental or earth shattering, we’ve just devoted time to it and made sure all the players understand how we want to defend.

“You’ve got give the players credit. They’ve shown an enormous amount of aptitude to do that work.”