What to do when you’re 3-0 down

Damage limitation is a loser’s game, insists former Sheffield United gaffer Mick Wadsworth

“Obviously some teams are far more capable of mounting comebacks than others – but whatever happens you have a duty to the fans to keep going for it.

You should never go for damage limitation: if you’re 3-0 down then you may as well lose 6-0 as far as I’m concerned.

More after the break

Very often it’s best to pass the problem back to the players and get them to work out the best way of getting back into it.

By doing that you’re handing them some extra motivation to fight back: you got yourselves into this problem, let’s see what you can do to get out of it.

You’re also reminding them that they’ve let the team down and need to show some desire.

From a tactical perspective there’s nothing more dispiriting when you’re staring down the barrel than taking a striker off and bringing on a defender – nothing will wind up your manager more than that.

If you can’t change the players then you change the system. We generally play 4-3-3, but the obvious way of changing that when you’re trying to be more positive is to swap to a three-man defence and getting one full-back to really push on to get more bodies up the pitch.

You could even get both full-backs to get forward, leaving just two defenders so you’re effectively playing 2-4-4.  This is a way to really flood the opposition half.

Football’s about momentum – and if you do get a goal back then the confidence can return pretty quickly.”

Three up and cruising?

Wadsworth on staying switched on when you’re battering the opposition

1 Be pragmatic

If you’re winning comfortably there can be a temptation to keep pushing forward – but you need to be mindful of who you’re playing. If it’s a team down the bottom then that’s probably the best way to go, but if it’s a top team then you have to be brave enough to shut up shop.

2 Enjoy it

You work so hard for wins at any level that when things do pay off it’s really important that you make the most of it. The players’ confidence will be sky high and you need to make sure they remember that feeling so you can use it as motivation in future.

3 Take opportunities

As a manager one of the most satisfying parts of the job is giving young players a chance and if you’re winning comfortably, that can be a chance to give a youngster a run out. The fact the team are doing so well in the game should make them feel far more at ease when their big moment arrives.

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