Preston boss Franke McAvoy wants his team to be able to switch between formations

Frankie McAvoy says he wants Preston North End to have an air of flexibility to their play in the campaign ahead.

Saturday, 5th June 2021, 8:00 am

McAvoy is a big fan of the 3-5-2 formation which served the Lilywhites well for seven of his eight games in charge last season.

However, the PNE head coach wants his players to feel comfortable in other systems so that they change approach for certain matches or during games if needed.

The pre-season schedule will give him the opportunity to try out different approaches, whether in the friendly games or during the training sessions.

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Frankie McAvoy

McAvoy told the Lancashire Post: “Teams have their preferred formation but you do need a plan B.

“Remember in my first game against Norwich we played a diamond.

“It was a very attacking approach and it did leave us open defensively.

“We went to a different formation for the next game at Swansea and stuck with the 3-5-2 from then on.

“The results we got showed that it suited us.

“If you find a formation that suits, you crack on with it.

“We do need to be flexible though, and be able to change shape when needed.

“In pre-season we will look at 3-5-2, we will look at the diamond, also the 4-3-3.

“We’ve got the option of doing that in training games or the friendly matches.

“It might be that during a game we think changing a formation would help us, so we need the players to be comfortable to do that.”

McAvoy has seen the 3-5-2 or a version of it work well in two big games of late.

“Chelsea played with a back three in the Champions League final against Manchester City last week,” said the Scot.

“I thought they looked defensively very solid and they stopped City’s threat.

“Quite a lot of teams are playing with a back three at the moment.

“Brentford changed to three at the back when they came to our place.

“They had a lot of joy with it that day – far too much for our liking –and they carried on with it for the rest of the season.

“Brentford used it for the play-off final at Wembley and they are now in the Premier League.

“In the eight games I was interim for last season, we got 17 points out of an available 24.

“Sixteen of those were collected playing a 3-5-2, so it worked well for us.

“As I said, you need some flexibility and we need the lads to be comfortable with what we ask them to do.

“That will all be addressed in pre-season, at the moment the players are having a well-deserved rest ready for coming back on July 1.”

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