Will Vaulks talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
MANY football aficionados admit that the most successful teams often have a variety of strategies and philosophies in their armoury in order to bamboozle opposition teams, revert to a Plan B if required, and utilise their playing resources to the best of their disposal.
Well, regular fans at the AESSEAL New York Stadium this season, will not fail to recognise an evolvement in the Millers playing style, which has seen the likes of Southend United, Walsall and most latterly, Oldham Athletic leave South Yorkshire with the tails well and truly between their legs in the face of a home onslaught.
The Millers have adopted a high-pressing style on their home turf, which has seen opposition teams hit for five in three out of the five home games so far. Several members of the press corps have compared the Millers’ strategy with that of the “Gegenpressing” school of thought, which was synonymous with Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund and now his Liverpool side.
The fast tempo game centres on pressuring the opposition after losing possession, in an energetic and cohesive manner, to win back the ball and effectively ‘counter’ the counter-attack. It is widely acknowledged that players have to be extremely fit, committed, organised and most importantly work as a unit to prevent teams escaping the final third of the pitch.
Some of the principles can be identified in the Millers’ style of play as Rotherham have been successfully penning teams deep inside their own half while taking control of affairs, but not without a scare or two for the home faithful with clean sheets also hard to come by.
Speaking exclusively to www.themillers.co.uk, Will Vaulks admits that his side have been making a conscious effort to make the AESSEAL New York Stadium a difficult proposition for visiting teams by pressing them high up the pitch.
“So far, our home form has been really good,” Vaulks enthused.
“We have to make it hard for teams to come here. When you look at the best teams, their home form is always really good.
“Most teams we have spoken to after the game have said they have not been pressed like that so far. We had a very hard pre-season and it’s for this very reason, so we could press teams into mistakes and to make sure that when we have the ball that with good fitness, you make the right kind of decisions.
“I think we showed our fitness in the second half (against Oldham). They tired a little bit and we ran all over them after that. Once we got the second goal we looked like we would score every time we went forward.”
Contrary to last season’s campaign, Vaulks insists that Rotherham look a transformed outfit in front of goal this term, by averaging over three goals a game in their home clashes to date.
Ipswich loanee Kieffer Moore and skipper Lee Frecklington have both bagged early season hat-tricks while the likes of Jon Taylor and Richie Towell have chipped in with goals after being given licence to bomb forward in support of lone front-man Moore. The ex-Falkirk and Tranmere midfielder insists that his side’s ability to score goals from all areas of the pitch is testament to the added potency in the final third this season.
“When we came out at the second half against Oldham, we went into a little circle and we said if we keep a clean sheet, we will win the game and we did because we know we will score and nine times out of 10 we will get a few goals,” Vaulks added.
“Kieffer looks like scoring every time the ball goes into the box so it’s great having a striker on form like that.”