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Boss won’t sacrifice solid defence in search for cutting edge

2 October 2022

Alex Morris says he will not sacrifice Crewe Alexandra’s new-found defensive solidity in the pursuit of better attacking play.

The Railwaymen kept a fifth clean sheet of the season in Saturday’s draw at Carlisle United – one more than was managed in the whole of last term.

While the Manager admits there is much to work on in an attacking sense, he does not want to lose the shape and discipline the side is showing when out of possession.

“I see what everyone else sees, but we are trying so hard to develop what we need,” said Morris.

“There’s too much breakdown with the combinations, the players aren’t showing as much belief as they need to show for us to succeed in that final third.

“We’ve got some players who are technicians and can handle the football, but it’s about transferring that into games and not leaving it on the training pitch.

“But it has to be something that evolves over time, without sacrificing the fundamentals and principles we have put into them without the ball.

“We’ve kept more clean sheets than we did in the whole of last season already, which we are pleased about, and you can’t overlook the good things.

“There are plenty of them, because while you are searching for the formula high up the pitch, it’s really important that you are strong defensively. That’s kept the points ticking over.

“I’m sure everybody is really pleased we’ve got a competitive Crewe Alexandra – so are we – but I know being the manager of Crewe Alexandra is different to being the manager of 95% of other clubs in League Two, where winning games of football and being ‘up there’ in the table is enough.

“Here, you have to do it in a certain style or people won’t be happy. That’s not a criticism, I get it because I’ve been here 27 years.

“It makes my job tougher because there are more expectations to fulfil, but I’m up for the challenge of meeting them along with Belly (Lee Bell) and Kenny (Lunt). We’ll keep working at it.”

Clear-cut chances were few and far between at both ends across the 90 minutes at Brunton Park, with neither keeper greatly troubled.

Morris added: “We were worthy of the point, but certainly not worthy of winning it. It was a tough watch; we’ll all admit that.

“I think we saw in this 90 minutes exactly what we are. We are a really organised, disciplined side.

"We’ve travelled away from home now five times and only lost once, but we are searching hard to build more moves and combine better so we can covert possession into goals.”

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