Shrewsbury Town boss Steve Cotterill spoke to the media ahead of the visit of Morecambe on Saturday.
Morecambe currently reside in 21st place and are one point from safety ahead of their trip to Montgomery Waters Meadow. They drew 1-1 at home to rejuvenated Gillingham last weekend.
Cotterill spoke about the fine margins that have come into play in recent weeks and discussed the role Ethan Ebanks-Landell has played so far this season.
Steve Cotterill said:
“Everybody is good, obviously having the clear run up to Morecambe helps them [the players] to rest and recuperate and to not be doing a lot of travelling is good too. I think we’ve had six of the last eight games away from home which has been difficult, but if you look at the form table in the last six games, we’re ninth at home and we’re tenth in the form table away [from home].
“I’ve looked at quite a few things this week, some of the stats and I saw one printed that I didn't think was too clever, so I thought I’d have a look at it and the expected goals more deeply. Our expected goals over our last eight games are better than the teams we’ve played against, Saturday for instance, their [Plymouth's] expected goal rate was 0.8 and ours was 1.2. When you look at those expected goals, that’s actually the chances you’re creating. If you look at the crosses, it’s only Rotherham [United], Wycombe [Wanderers], Oxford [United], and Sheffield Wednesday who get more crosses in the box than us, so it’s not that we’re not creating things or not attacking enough; that is absolutely wide of the mark.
“If you look at the expected goals rate – which is what it’s all about at the end of the day – if you score more goals than you conceded, you’re always going to be higher up the table but fundamentally if you look at the way we’re playing and the expected goals per game and the table, we would be 13th at the moment and we’d have just over 43 points. It’s definitely been narrow margins because of all the goals we’ve not conceded, so everything is a narrow margin, and don’t forget we’ve been away from home for most of those games.
“Players are not always going to play the same and your goalscorers are not always going to score, so we know the goals have got to be shared amongst the rest of the team and I think the players know that as well. There has to be a collective responsibility on that as I said the other week, rather than it falling on Dan Udoh or Ryan Bowman or Matthew Pennington from a set-piece, it can’t just be on them; the other boys have to stand up as well and I think they all know that.”
On preparation for the game:
“We’ve had a really, really good day today, I’m really happy with the boys and we had a good meeting before and started our preparation. We tried to get a big chunk of it done today because we know the weather is going to be bad tomorrow, so we’ve managed to spend a little bit longer on the training ground than normal today. We would probably do 75% offensive work to 25% defensive work [during a training session] because the defensive structure won’t change, so I only have to tap on that very lightly in training and also from set plays, but our split is probably 75/25 on the offensive side.”
On Ethan Ebanks-Landell:
“He’s done very well back there. We were chatting this morning and his defensive capabilities have been well documented, I think he’s played very well for us. I do think he could do slightly more in the attacking box and in fact, he was the one who offered that up, I think he’s a bit disappointed that he hasn’t been able to offer that from our attacking set plays and I think, for somebody who is so good in the air, he’s probably right to be slightly disappointed in that. We’re still working on it but let’s hope that he can come up trumps.”