At last, football had returned. After just over 3 months, without any football, Millwall welcomed Phillip Cocu’s Derby County to The Den. Millwall were sat in 8th place, just 2 points off the play-offs, while Derby were just 3 points behind the lions.
Gary Rowett made one change to the side that beat Nottingham Forest (pre lockdown) with Ryan Leonard replacing the ineligible Mason Bennett. We set up in the 4411 whilst Derby set up in a 4231, making 3 changes to the side that beat Blackburn Rovers 3–0. Wayne Rooney, Tom Lawrence and Duane Holmes all returned to the starting 11.
How Millwall Lost to Derby County
Out of possession, Derby were in a medium block, in a 442, with Sibley supporting the press with Waghorn. Millwall like to progress the ball through our 2 central midfielders (Molumby and Woods) who are our best passers of the ball. Therefore, Sibley and Waghorn worked hard and well together to block off the passing lane from Millwall’s CB’s to the 2 central midfielders. Derby had obviously worked on this trap as numerous times throughout the game, they would press Woods or Molumby quickly when they are about to receive the ball. This stopped Millwall from progressing the ball forwards and sometimes forced us to go direct to Smith, where Derby were able to challenge for the second balls. This pressing trap was effective as during the 1st half, Millwall struggled to take control of the game and build measured attacks.
Derby’s Attacking Movements
Millwall, out of possession, sat in a medium-low block in a 4411 and rarely applied any pressure on Derby’s backline. We were also very narrow, trying not to let Derby build through the middle. However, we weren’t quite successful in doing so! Once in possession of the ball, Derby’s off the ball movements were very good. Frequently, Tom Lawrence would drift inside to the left half space channel, in between the lines of Millwall’s midfield and defence. Due to this, and Millwall being narrow, Forsyth was able to get high and wide (almost hugging the touchline) providing the width. Not only was Lawrence, moving in between the lines, Sibley was also doing a great job of doing this and caused many problems because of this. Bird also played a key…