Manager Phillip Cocu gave some insight into his thinking behind changing tactics at half time on Saturday during Derby County's 2-2 draw against Stoke City.
The manager switched from a back four to a back three at half time at the bet365 Stadium, as Krystian Bielik replaced Scott Malone.
That allowed Bielik to play at the heart of the defence with Richard Keogh and Matt Clarke beside him, with Max Lowe and Florian Jozefzoon deployed as wing backs.
“You want to keep the initiative,” the manager explained, talking to RamsTV. “We wanted to keep the ball and control the game and after a good start, we couldn’t play our game.
“They put us under pressure and we couldn’t find a way out so you try to analyse what is causing the problem and how we can solve it just to get the initiative back to have build up play from behind and be able to play more in their half.
“I thought with three at the back we were better at playing the three on two situation where we had more possession with our full backs a little higher up. It’s what the game needed.
“I saw the data from the game; how much possession we had every 15 minutes in the second half was much higher so I thought we made the right decision. I thought the boys did very well.
“We couldn’t practise a lot playing this way because we wanted to put more effort in training sessions into playing our normal system but we did really well.”
It was an interesting move which showed the manager’s tactical eye and he admitted that he is not afraid to revisit it should he need to.
“We have to be able to play a different system or style when it’s needed to get a result,” Cocu said.
“Sometimes in football, whether it’s because of the opponent or sometimes because of yourself, you can’t play the way you want to play.
“We cannot rely on one thing. We have different types of players in the group so we can play in a different way.”
And after re-watching the game against Stoke City, he was keen to highlight striker Martyn Waghorn’s first goal of the game in the opening two minutes.
“You always look at the final pass or the part before the goal, but it started at the back,” the manager commented.
“The build-up play set up the attack and it was a great finish, but it was a team goal. It is what we try to achieve against an organised defence.
“We still are able to create a goal by combining, moving and rotating in the midfield so it was a great goal.”