Bleiberg's lizard system returns

Hyundai A-League fans may have bore witness to the return of the famed 'lizard system' in Gold Coast United's 1-0 derby win over Brisbane on Boxing Day.

Hyundai A-League fans may have bore witness to the return of the famed 'lizard system' in Gold Coast United's 1-0 derby win over Brisbane on Boxing Day.

Tactically astute coach Miron Bleiberg pulled a masterstroke at Skilled Park, assisting his team in getting over the early loss of target man Dylan Macallister in the 13th minute of the match.

Succumbing to a hamstring injury that could keep him out for a month, the towering striker was an important part of Bleiberg's original blueprint for how to beat the Roar.

But his substitution for defender Dylan McGowan meant United had to deviate from the 3-1-4-2 formation that kept two consecutive clean sheets for the first time this season.

Bleiberg famously said his side played with a 'lizard system' in September last year, which, like a chameleon, adjusts itself based on its surroundings.

There were clear elements of that versatility in the way the former Israeli naval captain deployed his troops against Brisbane, and in the second half they were dominant - more than deserving of the 88th minute penalty goal handed to them on a silver platter.

"Everyone knew what they had to do but all of a sudden (the injury), it was a shock to the system. It forced me to do the shuffle," Bleiberg said.

"We had nine days (before the match). When you've got a lot of time you prepare your team the best you can - your first XI, you work on it, and it's even less flexible than normal because of the length of time you had to prepare.

"We were very sharp on the left side in the first half with Ben Halloran and Adama Traore but on the right side we had Dylan McGowan - and the last job he could do is to play as a natural winger.

"It wasn't pleasant with Dylan Macallister. I didn't want to change too much, we put Peter Jungschlager in his natural position but we missed his creativity on the right side.

"At half time, we changed - we balanced the team. We put Benny on the right and Adama on the left and we looked much better.

"Benny did a good job, at the start of the half he hit the post and he terrorized the right side, and he earned the penalty."

But selection is about to get a whole lot more difficult for Bleiberg, who will be without Macallister for at least two weeks and Paul Beekmans, who accrued a one-match suspension with his fifth yellow card.

With first-choice custodian Glen Moss already sidelined, United can at least call upon Ante Rozic, who returns from a suspension of his own.

But Bleiberg was far from carried away with his side's impressive win.

"I have a lot of respect for the Roar, for what they've achieved, the players and the coaching staff. That's why I don't feel like raving about this win too much," he said.