Date:Thursday December 8 2011
Swansea City manager Brendan Rodgers has backed the decision to use zonal defending at set pieces, but insists his team need to deal with the 'second ball' better.
The Swans boss said his side defended well against Stoke City, as they kept a clean sheet against Pulis' side at home, beating them 2-0.
However, while the defence coped well that day against a big and physical side like Stoke, they failed when they were up against Blackburn Rovers last Saturday.
The defence was heavily criticised for their lack of marking at set pieces, whereby two of their four goals were scored from corner kicks. Some fans have even said that the zonal marking system for set pieces just doesn't work for us, but Rodgers says his team can defend, but they must deal with the second ball better.
'There's no doubt that physically and in terms of stature, we are not as big as most teams in this league,'
'That's why this season we have switched to a more zonal defending system, and that has worked against bigger teams than Blackburn.
'We have already shown a whole raft of times that we can defend.
'We are not going to come up against a bigger team than Stoke all season, but we did our jobs and got a clean sheet in that game.
'It's about concentration — it's about getting your mentality right.'
Rodgers said the problem with his defence at Blackburn was that they didn't deal with the second ball:
'What we didn't do so well against Blackburn was deal with the second ball,'
'When you face players like Chris Samba, who is 6ft 5in tall, and the ball is floated up in the air, there is a high percentage chance that he is going to win the first header.
'But what we have been good at in general this season is anticipating the second ball.
'It's each player's job in there to deal with it, especially when they have been assigned the job of marking certain people.
'Dealing with the second ball is about anticipation, it's about aggression and it's about not letting people get in front of you easily.
'We have to be better at that than we were against Blackburn.'
Date:Thursday December 8 2011
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