Steve Cotterill: Shrewsbury Town are evolving

Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill believes it is ‘plain to see’ his side evolving on the pitch despite a frustrating opening to the campaign.

Steve Cotterill the head coach / manager of Shrewsbury Town (AMA)
Steve Cotterill the head coach / manager of Shrewsbury Town (AMA)

Town have opened up with three league defeats from three and a penalty shootout Carabao Cup success.

A new-look squad, containing eight summer signings after more than a dozen were released at the end of last term, is getting up to speed in adopting Cotterill’s high-intensity, possession-based style while options are thin on the ground due to unavailability and work left in the window.

Salop put in their best performance from four games this season in the narrow and hard-fought 1-0 defeat Cotterill’s former club Portsmouth this week and the manager was extremely pleased with what he saw at Fratton Park.

The boss explained his side are beginning to show clear signs of progressing in their style. He referenced how narrow wins were secured against big-hitters following his appointment last season through a successful deep defensive and counter-attacking style.

“I’m not stupid, we’ve just been beat 1-0. If you’re saying would I have rather not played as well and won 1-0? Yes of course I would’ve done, because we’d take the points and still work on the performance,” Cotterill said.

“The trouble is, when you’re down the bottom of the table there and fighting for everything, to show some of the stuff we’ve worked in training from July 1 come out in that game on Tuesday, in a pressure environment, is excellent.

“Some of the football we’ve played is far better. We can’t change overnight from being a team when I came in that had to be a low block and work on the counter-attack and hope for a goal in front.

“It’s absolutely plain for anyone to see that the football is evolving. You don’t always get the results early on when the football is evolving.

“Let’s hope, for the players’ sake, that they do go and get a couple of results to give them that confidence to carry on playing that way.”

Cotterill and Town are likely to be boosted ahead of Saturday’s home clash against Plymouth as captain Ethan Ebanks-Landell is set to return to contention following a 10-day isolation period having contracted Covid-19.

Shaun Whalley has now missed three matches after sustaining and severe hand injury inside the opening 30 seconds of the season-opener against Burton. Cotterill will hope the No.7 is not sidelined for much longer, while striker Ryan Bowman (hamstring) is also out.

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