Roeder's role model for leaky defence

Norwich chief Glenn Roeder has hailed Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate as the perfect role model for his leaky defence.

Derek Davis

Norwich chief Glenn Roeder has hailed Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate as the perfect role model for his leaky defence.

Roeder insists Southgate is the ideal template when it's come to grasping the art of defending.

City's injury and suspension-hit backline has now gone 13 games since shutting out Barnsley at Oakwell in September - shipping two or more goals in four of the last five.

Roeder wants the early festive charity to stop, starting with tomorrow's Championship derby against Ipswich.

“You're always positive that you have solved problems that have caused us problems,” he said. “For me, its quite simple basic defending and we have made some poor decisions in that area too often. I think sometimes it's about the players realising the potential dangers when you have to defend at a set play or whatever.

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“I always refer to Gareth Southgate - who I worked with for a couple of years. He made himself an international defender when he wasn't an international defender. His attitude to life and how he saw things was the key. He was a very positive guy in the sense it was him who made himself what he was as a defender.”

Middlesbrough's young manager earned 57 England caps during a nine-year career for his country. Southgate was also a solid Premiership performer for Aston Villa, Boro and Crystal Palace where he clocked up more than 400 top flight appearances.

“I think the best defenders, and this will sound double Dutch, have a negative attitude,” said Roeder. “In terms of they always expect the worst when it comes to covering any potential disaster and then deal with it. If it happens they are in a position to fight any fires.

“In other words if Gareth Southgate had to defend at a set play he knew who he was supposed to be marking and made sure that guy never got away from him, never get a free shot or a header. He would always cover for other defenders because he assumed negatively they would get beat.

“I think as a striker you have to be positive all the time. They have to believe the defender is going to make a mistake so they are ready to capitalise on it and expecting the worst. When it doesn't happen as a defender, great, but when it does they are there because they have read the situation and are alive to it. We need more of that attitude.”

Roeder admits City's porous back line is wrecking plenty of good work in front of goal at the opposite end of the pitch.

“At the start of the season we were not scoring goals,” he said. “Now we are but letting one too many in at the other end. That have cost us important points and got us into the position that we are in. There hasn't been a team that has totally outplayed us. There's been a few poor performances that you know I am unhappy with - particularly Burnley away, Derby away was another and the second half on Saturday.

“But most games we have periods of momentum when we are totally dominant and when we play like that, like we proved against Wolves, we are capable of beating anyone in the division.”