The case for the three-man defence

“Few tactical strategies have attracted as much controversy in recent years as the three-man defence, which – in the United Kingdom at least – has become synonymous with coaching gaffes, changing-room unease and on-pitch embarrassment. Blame for England’s 2-0 defeat by Croatia in a Euro 2008 qualifier in October 2006 was widely attributed to Steve McClaren’s decision to send his team out in an untested 3-5-2 formation, with Gary Neville (author of a memorable own goal that day) revealing in his autobiography that the system had been introduced in training only ‘a couple of days before’ the match. Attempts to ambush the Premier League’s top teams by deviating from the four-man defensive norm, meanwhile, have often met with humiliating failure.” EuroSport


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