Focus on simple defending has made Scunthorpe United more solid, says skipper Paul Reid
Skipper Paul Reid believes it's no coincidence Scunthorpe United have started to look more solid in recent weeks.
A tendency to overplay at the back under former manager Alan Knill contributed to an unhealthy-looking goals against column. But since Brian Laws took charge, the focus has been on simply defending.
As a result, the Iron back line are more at ease with the job they've been asked to do, according to Reid. And it seems to show in the results – United conceding just twice in successive victories.
"I think we're just playing in better areas, rather than playing better football," he explained.
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"We're not over-playing at the back or in the middle of the park and allowing teams to press us and nick the ball off us without having to work too hard.
"We conceded far too many goals early on in the season without teams having to do too much other than just press us and force us into a mistake.
"Now we're playing in the opposition's half and letting them make the mistakes.
"I feel the defenders at the moment are just defending.
"At points early on in the season I felt there was too much pressure on the defenders to try to create.
"I think it's the right way to play to improve yourself as a player, but things weren't really working out for us.
"I think the way we're playing now is going to be more productive.
"One of his criticisms of us before he (Laws) came in was that we did overplay, and I would have to agree with that.
"I think there's a time and a place to be passing the ball around in this division and it's in their half.
"Without being disrespectful to other teams in this level, if you put the ball in somebody else's half over and over again someone will make a mistake eventually.
"If we're doing it to other teams then we're on top.
"The previous manager brought in good players but the style we were playing just didn't work out.
"I wouldn't just blame the previous manager for that, I would blame the players. We weren't good enough or able to adapt to that style of play and produce good football and results.
"There were flashes of good football but the results just weren't happening and that's what you're judged on."
Scunthorpe find themselves without David Mirfin until the new year due to a knee injury.
But although much attention was given to the Reid/Mirfin central defensive partnership prior to this term; the captain says Niall Canavan has proved more than capable in the role.
"Me and Niall are the only experienced recognized centre-halves at the moment," he said.
"We've got young Callum (Howe) who I don't think has played a first-team game yet, so me and Niall really need to stay fit at the moment.
"I'm not sure if the gaffer plans to bring in another centre-half as cover, but at the moment we need to make sure performances are good and also stay fit as well.
"A lot was made of the partnership between me and Mirfin, and I think that was really disrespectful to Niall, to say that once us two were back we'd play and that would be it.
"Niall's come in and done well.
"From the outside looking in, he's kind of had a few false dawns to me.
"He's come in, played well and then been dropped for another experienced centre-half.
"He's got a real run of games now.
"Niall could still go on, I think, and play higher than this.
"He's got great attributes, but in the short-term it's just about staying in the team and playing well alongside me."