Cook lifts lid on half-time message to Pompey

Pompey boss Paul Cook   Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

Paul Cook delivered an insight into the half-time words which helped spark the Dagenham & Redbridge fightback.

The Pompey boss told his team they couldn’t afford to fall out of the automatic promotion race with a whimper in the manner they were at Victoria Road.

A dreadful first 45 minutes saw the Blues fall behind to the rock-bottom Daggers as they were outfought by John Still’s side.

Pompey’s 1,659 travelling fans made their feelings known as the players left the field at the break.

It was a different story after the interval as Cook’s men fired in four unanswered goals.

The Blues manager refused to take the credit for the turnaround, but made it clear what he demanded of his team.

Cook said: ‘We got a roasting off our fans and quite right.

‘There were a lot of words at half-time and they weren’t complimentary.

‘I’m not going to come out and say I changed the game, though.

‘You are trying to reiterate the values of what you’re trying to do.

‘We can get beat, but there’s a way to get beat and that wasn’t it in the first half.

‘We must put them under pressure was the message, We can’t wilt and we can’t fade away.

‘We must give these fans something to shout about.’

Cook feels the manner of Pompey’s performance highlighted his team’s inconsistency – but also their character.

Now he wants to see a unified front from the club over the final six games.

He said: ‘Since we’ve been reformed, the club has only known bad times.

‘Whatever success we can get now we’ll strive for.

‘It’s about stepping up and having your big players step up.

‘When you are getting beat 1-0 by the bottom team after 60 minutes, that’s pressure.

‘Our fans were just about losing patience with us, but great credit to the players. I’ve never doubted them.

‘The character and quality is there, if not the consistency.

‘We’d could be here all day talking about how bad we were in the first half. But the important thing at this stage of the season is the result. We won 4-1.

‘We have to keep going and believing in what we’re doing.

‘We believe in the run we’re putting together now.

‘We’re showing character. Consistency, no. But I don’t think our character is ever in question.

‘But we have to stay together on that journey until the journey ends.’

Saturday’s win means Pompey finally have put a run of three league successes together with six games to go.

That sees momentum building go into Saturday’s clash with promotion rivals Plymouth.

Cook said: ‘We’re putting our best run together at a crucial time of the season.

‘We’re on 69 points. We haven’t won three games on the bounce and it’s pleasing to do that.

‘We’ve scored goals and shown firepower. I always thought we’d score goals.

‘I’m very proud of the players, I’ve got a great faith in the players.

‘We move on to Plymouth now. What a great game for everyone connected with Portsmouth.’