Motherwell boss explains formation change after ‘the pattern that had to be broken’

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander insists his side’s away form is the reason he had to pull the plug on his usual 4-3-3 formation midweek.

The ‘Well boss opted for a 3-4-1-2 system at Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with St Mirren in Paisley but is set to revert back to his three-man attack today against Celtic.

A big win over a Hoops side who swept past Rangers 3-0 to top the Premiership ahead of this clash would grant Motherwell an 11th home win this season.

In the league, only Celtic, Rangers and Hearts have better records on home soil. But only Aberdeen and Dundee have worse away records than the Fir Park side who have won two of their 12 travelling games.

Alexander’s side dug out a stoppage-time leveller through Ross Tierney to avoid defeat to St Mirren, and he says a formation change was key.

He explained: “Our home record is very good but our away record doesn’t match that. We looked at things that we could try to do to improve that.

“There was a pattern in away games that we saw and wanted to break, which we did. The players were very good because we didn’t have much time to work on it.

“We still approached the game in the same way which was to press the opposition and force them into mistakes and keep them in their half which certainly worked.

“That’s probably the first time we have changed the starting formation all season but we felt the pattern had to be broken.”

Motherwell boss Graham Alexander will hope to be all smiles at full-time today
Motherwell boss Graham Alexander will hope to be all smiles at full-time today

Alexander is pleased with the side’s form at Fir Park, however, having not lost at home since a bruising 6-1 defeat to Rangers on Halloween.

He added: “There’s a lot of hard work that goes on the training pitch. The Rangers game was a line in the sand so we changed some things.

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“The players have responded brilliantly to that challenge we have put to them. I feel we can attack teams how we want to attack teams.

“Sometimes, things go against us away from home, which can be hard for us to control or dictate. We want to get at people at home.

“I think it suits the players we have in the building and I think they get a good feeling from it. I think the supporters respond to the way we play as well.”

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