Kettlewell returns to basics in bid to arrest Motherwell’s slump

The Fir Park side are on a 12-match run without a win.

Stuart Kettlewell returns to basics in bid to arrest Motherwell’s 12-match slump SNS Group

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell has simplified his approach in an attempt to end a 12-match run without victory.

Players have often praised Kettlewell’s meticulous preparations, but the former Ross County manager believes a change of tack is needed after Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat in Dingwall saw their poor run hit a new low.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s visit of St Johnstone, Kettlewell said: “My approach probably becomes slightly different. It’s really important I simplify this.

“I pride myself with the staff on how much time we spend with the players and how much detail we put in and we coach them on a basis of what we show in video analysis.

“I have seen it a number of times where we show videos and think ‘that’s going to solve all the problems, the players will realise where they went wrong and will know how to fix this’.

“There is a slight change of approach for me, and it’s that short-term idea of we need to strip this back and simplify it because at this minute in time a lot of the detail that we are giving is not quite being processed and we are not actioning it.

“So from that, we probably need to change the stimulus and shift things around a little bit.

“I assure people I don’t just sit here and say ‘I have conquered this, I know what I’m doing, it’s the players’ fault, they are not acting on my message because I am wonderful at what I do’. That’s certainly not the case – I make mistakes, I get things wrong.

“But I have to get a reaction somehow, I need to change something.

“The one thing I can’t change is the team selection because we don’t have too many options, the numbers are low.

“But they were low at the start of the season. For our last victory, which seems a long, long time ago, against Hearts, we had very few players to pick from because we had a lot of injuries then. We managed to pick up a result and I still believe that’s possible on Saturday.”

Those selection constraints include injuries to the entire back three that was so successful in the second half of last season, while the absence of Lennon Miller has been badly felt and fellow midfielder Harry Paton remains suspended. Left-back Pape Souare is out long term.

Only five players are available for the back five, including on-loan Blackburn left-back Georgie Gent, who is yet to start a first-team match.

Kettlewell’s only real selection choice appears to be whether to hand North Macedonian midfielder Davor Zdravkovski his first cinch Premiership start, play striker Conor Wilkinson in midfield, or go with three up front. None of the options have a track record of success.

Kettlewell, who does have five strikers to choose from, said: “We have to put our focus on who is available and who can impact the game.”

Motherwell will also likely need to buck the trend of conceding from corners – seven goals in their last seven games have directly or indirectly come from that source, if you count the penalty they conceded against Celtic.

Kettlewell has tried different methods of defending corners in recent weeks, but again he has simplified the approach.

He added: “We spend so much time on that, sometimes too much time. But it purely comes down to desire and concentration that you are not prepared to give up your clean sheet.”

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