GARY Rowett has paid tribute to Burton Albion’s fans after they roared the team on to their best away win since promotion to the Football League, writes TOM SLOAN.
The Brewers hammered Fleetwood Town 4-0 on Saturday with a ruthlessly efficient performance that had more than 400 Albion fans in raptures.
“I thought the fans were brilliant,” Rowett, whose side sits third in League Two, told Mailsport. “It’s probably the best away following we’ve had this season.
“There was a great seaside atmosphere and I though they really added to that.”
The fans also sung the praises of Rowett – but the boss was more concerned they enjoyed their away day than take any credit for his side’s display in Lancashire.
“It’s nice but I’m just pleased for them,” he said. “They’ve travelled back from numerous grounds feeling disappointed and despondent.
“It was great for them to see a performance and result like that. It’s more important than taking any self gratification from them singing my name.”
Albion’s performance on the coast gave them their first away win since November and Rowett seems to have found a way of setting his side up positively away from home, while keeping a solid shape.
The Brewers are unbeaten in three away from the Pirelli Stadium and a cure for their travel sickness could be perfectly timed for the League Two run-in.
“We’ve asked more of people,” he said last night. “I’ve asked more of people like Billy (Kee) and the other lads up front.
“I’m not suggesting they’ve been lazy in previous games, because they haven’t.
“But if your two strikers and a wide player, say, are out of the game, wide open spaces can appear very quickly.
“They’re the kind of wide open spaces we punish if teams leave them against us at home.
“A team like Aldershot, with their high-tempo pressing game, made it very difficult for us when we played them at home.
“So it’s important to close those spaces down.”
To play a high-tempo game closing down space takes a very fit group of players and becomes more difficult as pitches deteriorate in the depths of winter.
But Rowett’s squad seems to be relishing the challenge after getting over a mini-injury crisis recently.
“We’ve started to reward good performances with a bit more rest,” he said. “We’ve given them a few Mondays off after a few games.
“We did it after Wimbledon (1-1 draw), after Rotherham (2-0 win) and they had this Monday off as well.
“Freshness is absolutely vital and they’re looking the freshest they have this season.
“We’re really pleased with that and we’ve got to keep that going.
“The key is to keep it feeling like the first day of the season.”