The formation change against Gateshead was pre-planned reveals Leyton Orient boss Steve Davis
PUBLISHED: 15:30 25 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:30 25 October 2017
Simon O'Connor Photography
The O's played three different formations at home to the Heed, but were second best throughout the contest
Steve Davis has revealed his Leyton Orient players were well aware of what formation to change to if things were not working against Gateshead last night.
It was another game to forget to the O’s as the Heed claimed a 2-0 win at Brisbane Road thanks to Jordan Burrow’s brace.
Orient started the match in a 5-3-2 formation, but after Burrow opened the scoring in the ninth minute, Davis switched to a 4-3-3.
The new shape saw right-back Jake Caprice pushed into an advanced right forward role with Macauley Bonne on the left, but it failed to work and later on the O’s returned to a 4-4-2, though it had little effect with Gateshead grabbing a second in the 80th minute.
Davis said: “We had already told the players how we were going to play if the first formation wasn’t working, so they knew about the changes and knew how to slot into those positions.
“It was then how we performed it on the pitch, but it was already pre-planned because we knew how Gateshead would play and we thought if there were any gaps or problems we might have then we could solve it with certain things we did on the pitch.
“The players knew because we talked about it before and we always talk to one or two of the experienced players to try and get the message on and they knew if we were going to change then the message would come at some point in the game and the message came earlier than I anticipated.”
Davis also explained his thinking behind playing James Brophy as a left-sided central midfielder against Gateshead.
The ploy to push Caprice further forward than normal was another topic of debate following the defeat, which saw O’s drop to 19th in the table and just four points above the relegation zone.
“We used the players that were on the pitch because we didn’t want to make a substitution after 10 minutes because it wouldn’t have been right, so we tried to utilise the 11 we had on the pitch,” said Davis.
“Brophy has played in that position before for Swindon Town and he’s played as a number 10 and a left-sided midfielder, so we knew he could do it.
“Jobi (McAnuff) and him give us more thrust going forward, which didn’t show against Gateshead, and Craig Clay’s the only holding player.
“When you have five defenders on the pitch you don’t want too many more in front of that, so that was the reason for having two attacking players (McAnuff and Brophy) in the front positions in a three.
“Eventually we got ‘Moons’ (David Mooney) and ‘Macca’ more central, but I didn’t know how Macca would play that position.
“He was supposed to play as a bit more of a centre forward and a little bit narrow because he ended up on the wing far too much in that first system and I take the blame for that because he is more effective down the middle.
“Then we had ‘Moons’ up there to play a bit more and Brophy on the left wing where he can get in behind and Jake to be fair was a winger before he became a full-back, so we knew he could do it.”
“It isn’t something we’ve just thrown at them. We knew it was something they could do and something we’ve done during the week in training and it is just whether it works on the pitch and on the night and it didn’t (against Gateshead).”