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LL: "We Defended Well"

By: Stephen Bateman
Date: 15/01/2001

Mariners boss Lennie Lawrence believes that the club's recent run of poor form has nothing to do with the unpopular 4-3-3 system that he has been operating, preferring instead to blame his players for being "off form."

After witnessing his side slump to a morale-sapping 3-1 defeat at home to bottom of the league Crewe on Saturday, Lawrence found himself being asked once again to defend his tactics:

"To be frank the formation wasn't the issue, I like the system, but we went to 4-4-2 and it didn't make any difference."

"I didn't think any one player would have made a difference, there were so many off form. To be fair to [Tony Gallimore and Stacey Coldicott], they were no worse than the others." added the Grimsby manager.

After just two wins from their last thirteen games, seeing their opponents outscore them by twenty-four goals to fourteen, the Mariners are now heavily immersed in the relegation mire with just one point separating them from the basement slot.

In spite of the constant threat posed by Crewe counter-attacks on Saturday and having admitted that "their front three embarrassed us", Lawrence appears to believe that his Grimsby side defended adequately, saying:

"We defended quite well but we could have got beat 5-3. We didn't play at a high enough tempo in the first half. I changed it at half time but they ran the ball in too easily for the third goal."

The Mariners must now lick their wounds and attempt to avoid further embarrassment as they entertain second division Wycombe Wanderers in an FA Cup 3rd Round replay at Blundell Park on Tuesday night - a game in which Lawrence has already promised to ring the changes.

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