Sean Clare and Arnaud Djoum '˜can be answer to goalscoring problems'

Craig Levein believes midfielders running in behind opponents is the way forward for Hearts following Saturday's win against Motherwell.

Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 5:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 9:15 am

The manager credited Arnaud Djoum and Sean Clare with key roles in the 1-0 victory, which was the Edinburgh club’s first in eight games.

Peter Haring headed the only goal of the game but Levein today revealed his tactical plan to cause Motherwell problems in attack. After seeing his team winless in seven matches and struggling to score, he employed a different system to get Djoum and Clare supporting striker Steven MacLean.

“It’s been a difficult spell. We had some really hard matches at the beginning of the run and we didn’t do particularly well in those. That affected us a little bit and we’ve toiled since then,” Levein told the Evening News.

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Arnaud Djoum takes on two Motherwell players. Picture: SNS Group
Arnaud Djoum takes on two Motherwell players. Picture: SNS Group

“I have taken a bit of time to work out how we can win games without having that secure possession in the last third of the field. That’s been our problem - we can’t retain the ball for long enough to put the opposition under pressure.

“With Arnaud and Sean playing a little bit higher and making runs in behind, it has helped. All credit to the boys on Saturday. It wasn’t a particularly enjoyable game for anybody but they rolled their sleeves up and dug in.”

Levein used a three-man defence to help execute his plan, with Clevid Dikamona, Michael Smith and Christophe Berra lining up at the back. “Motherwell’s threat is that they always play with two strikers,” Levein explained. “I knew [Ryan] Bowman would come on at some point if they were behind, so having an extra player in the back line helps.”