Lone Lita can be a positive strategy

City fans have been told to take a positive attitude tonight if Glenn Roeder goes with a 4-3-3 formation against Crystal Palace tonight. With Antoine Sibierski rated only 50-50 to shake off a knee problem, Roeder may decide to go with Leroy Lita up top on his own, as he did at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

City fans have been told to take a positive attitude tonight if Glenn Roeder goes with a 4-3-3 formation against Crystal Palace tonight.

With Antoine Sibierski rated only 50-50 to shake off a knee problem, Roeder may decide to go with Leroy Lita up top on his own, as he did at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

But the City boss used a bit of Chelsea and a bit of Holland to explain exactly why his system is forward thinking, not defensively minded.

“If we start with just Leroy as our only central striker it mustn't be perceived as a negative formation - unfortunately, most supporters in this country view it as a negative formation,” he said.


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“My answer to that would be that Jose Mourinho won the Premier League twice with Chelsea with just (Didier) Drogba through the middle playing exactly that formation, 4-3-3. You can't win the Premiership being negative, so it's horses for courses and round pegs in round holes.

“If you've got the players that can play in that system it is a very attack-minded system and not a negative system at all. You are actually playing with three out-and-out offensive players that are spread across the line - one through the middle and one on each wing, playing high up against the full-back and then three in midfield getting to grips with the game in midfield, because the team that has got the momentum in midfield normally is dictating the pace of the game.

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“And the one thing generally speaking you do not want to do is be outnumbered in midfield. A Dutch thing is never be outnumbered in midfield, they will never play two against three. It is not in their thinking. They would rather be one heavy than one light.”

If Sibierski joins the suspended Gary Doherty on the sidelines it does mean City lack height up front and in defence, where Adam Drury is expected to come into the reckoning.

“The thing there is I have seen plenty of tall people who can't head the ball because they don't want to head the ball,” he said.

“I have seen plenty of medium-sized lads who head the ball really well because they want to head the ball. It is about your mentality, do you want to head the ball? And even when you are giving three or four inches away if you 'body' the person at the right time if he does get the header in before you, without fouling him you are knocking him off balance and often the header will be deflected over the crossbar or wide or not where it's meant to go.

“It's all about being brave and having the courage to challenge in the air and with no fear that you might get a split eye or a broken nose.

“After all it's meant to be a man's game, a physical game.”

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