Graham Alexander: I think Bevis Mugabi likes the sexiness of playing up front

Motherwell v Rangers – cinch Premiership – Fir Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander feels he might have unleashed a suppressed desire for Bevis Mugabi to play up front after unleashing the centre-back on St Mirren’s defence on Tuesday night.

Mugabi went up front after Alex Gogic scored an 81st-minute opener for the Buddies and the Uganda international forced a good stop, might have had a penalty and then played his part in the build-up to Ross Tierney’s stoppage-time equaliser.

Mugabi might have his hands full in defence for Sunday’s visit of cinch Premiership leaders Celtic but Alexander now knows the former Yeovil player has the flexibility to cause problems in the other box if needs must.

“To be honest, it’s something I have joked about with him in training every now and then,” Alexander said.

“And Bevis being Bevis, he is up for anything. Honestly, if you gave him a pair of gloves, he will say: ‘I’ll take it on’.

“I think he likes the sexiness of playing up front.

“And to be fair he did really well. After we conceded the goal, we had made some subs and had as many forwards on as possible, but I just felt Bevis could give them a different problem to try and solve.

“And he did great. He could have scored a superb volley and he had a hand in the goal. He held the ball up, laid it out wide for Kaiyne (Woolery) and, like a true old-school number nine, spun and got in between the sticks and probably created the space that Ross took advantage of to score the goal.

“It’s great that we have players who are adaptable. It’s not something I am looking at long term, I think Bevis is doing a great job in defence for us, but I like to have players that can pick up different roles.

“We actually went to Kaiyne at right wing-back and Jordan Roberts at left wing-back and Bevis up front, so we had a lot of pace and attacking ability up there and a good old-fashioned number nine in Bevis that you can get up to.

“It was great because I thought the players without a doubt deserved to get something from the game but Bevis was buzzing after the game and I think he was hinting he could do a real good job for us up there for the long term.

“We’ll see how that progresses.”

There were other signs of flexibility with Motherwell switching to a 3-4-1-2 system which allowed them to have the better of the chances in Paisley.

But Alexander looks set to revert to a 4-3-3 as Motherwell bid to record their 11th home win of the season.

“Our home record is very good but our away record doesn’t match that,” he said. “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.”

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