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Sky Blues are getting in the zone for set-pieces; SKY BLUES.

Byline: Andy Turner Sky Blues Reporter andy.turner@coventrytelegraph.net

ALWAYS looking for solutions, Steven Pressley has changed his defensive tactics for the third time this season in a bid to tighten up from set-pieces.

It's a case of so far so good for the newly-adopted zonal marking system which Coventry City have employed in their last two games when they have conceded just one goal but, crucially, not from a corner or free-kick.

Marauding full-backs Cyrus Christie and Blair Adams have been sacri-ficed for more orthodox defenders who appear to have brought a bit more solidity to the Sky Blues back four who had previously shipped eight in three games.

"We've tried a number of things this season; we've tried purely manto-man marking, we've tried partially zonal and now we're going full zonal but that's because we need to find a solution," explained the City boss.

"To a degree that's why we've had effectively four centre-halves.

"When we were at our best our two full-backs played an enormous part in that.

"But sometimes when the pitches aren't so good and the environment and windy conditions aren't great you have to find different ways to get results, and maybe because of the full-backs' aggressive style to get forward it left us a little bit more exposed to the counter attack.

"So we decided to give ourselves a little bit more stability.

"One of the things you need when you go zonal is to have good headers of the ball in the correct areas, and both Jordans Clarke and Willis are excellent headers of the ball, so it's something we've adopted.

"But also the players have to respond to that because it can't always be the system. There comes a time where the players have to take responsibility, and I've told them that.

"If zonal doesn't work, if man-to-man doesn't work and partially zonal doesn't work then there's an obvious problem and that's we're not doing our jobs.

"So there comes a point as a manager where, yes, you have to keep finding solutions but also, as players, you have to take responsibility because it can't always be the system.

And that's the important thing."

With Michael Petrasso and Mark Marshall deployed out wide in place of the injured Carl Baker and Franck Moussa on Wednesday night, Pressley had two players who made up for the absence of an advancing full-back threat.

"We have a different kind of wide player," he said.

"The ones we had before were ones who liked to come in off the sides and play and you had to get your full-backs more advanced in the wide areas.

"But now we have got wide players who can run through and beyond which means you can have a little bit more stability at the back.

"So different kinds of wide players allow you to do different things with your full-backs."

Centre-half Andy Webster said: "I'm comfortable with zonal - it's something I've played before.

"The manager has looked at the manner of conceding goals from set plays but, fundamentally, it comes down to individuals.

"We have worked on it quite a lot in training and hopefully it will make a big difference to us.

"We need to get used to it and make sure that when the ball does come in everyone does their job properly."

CAPTION(S):

Coventry City defender Jordan Clarke is a key man in the team's zonal marking system at set-pieces.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 8, 2014
Words:576
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