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Barton: Complete shift in club culture at Fleetwood Town takes time

Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton applauds the fans
Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton applauds the fans

Joey Barton rejects the back three used by Fleetwood Town in the past and urged fans to be patient as he works to shift the club away from the Uwe Rosler, Steven Pressley and Graham Alexander model.

Barton took a swipe at his predecessors and told the fans to prepare for much better football than in years gone by.

Alexander guided Town into League One and Rosler led them to a top-four finish two seasons ago. His reign ended in February after a 3-0 defeat by tomorrow’s opponents Doncaster.

The club is looking up again under Barton, but with Town on a five-match winless run the boss called for patience.

He said: “I know where we are going. I’ve got the absolute support of the players and the coaching group. We have many discussions about where this team is and where we are trying to get to.

“The owner shares the same vision, understands what we are trying to do and how we are trying to do it.

“It is a fundamental shift from a back three, back five, defending for your lives – the Uwe Rosler, Graham Alexander, Steven Pressley model.

“The fans are going to have to be patient with it. What they will get out of it is a lot better than what they have been seeing in recent years.

“When we looked at the psychological aspects of the team last year, I think they won a couple of games against sides in the top 10, whereas they kind of became a little bit flat-track bullies and won the games against teams lower than them in the league table.

“We are managing to turn that around in terms of getting points at Sunderland and Charlton, who who will be in the top 12.

“We have to be more clinical and ruthless with sides at the other end of the table.

“If you want to be in that top 10 and the shake-up after Christmas for promotion and the play-off spots, then you have got to make sure you are consistent against all manner of teams.

“We are in the process of building that. Let’s not forget there is a cultural change going on here. There is a huge change in style.

“When I’ve watched the old footage and lots of the old games from the season when Uwe’s side finished fourth, there is a fundamental shift in the style of football we are trying to play.

“Of course with that you have personnel here that suits a back three. I believe a back three is a very strange formation to play. It is something that I don’t believe in.

“But we have players who have historically played in a back three and are now in the process of changing their habits on a game by game basis.”

It is a work in progress this club. There has been a different philosophy, different ideas before and it takes time to change that.

“I‘d love to come in with a magic wand, clear out everything I did not want and get everything in that I did want, but that is not football unless you tear contracts up and pay people up, which is not the correct way for it to be done. If you are Man City you can do it because you have billions.

“We have a playing squad and a staff to manage correctly through a period of change. I’m really excited about where it is going.

“It’s a complete culture shift: people enjoying coming to work, people not being suppressed in the workplace, people not being constantly put down, people understanding that we get where we need to get together, rather than anybody’s ideology or Draconian rule.

“I can’t get into the details of that because it is not really the said and done thing. It is a completely different ethos here now.”

“That will only benefit the club going forward.”