Cooper points to mental test

Shaun Cooper. Picture: Joe Pepler
Shaun Cooper. Picture: Joe Pepler

Shaun Cooper 
believes Pompey need to show more mental strength in the face of adversity.

Some of the team were left visibly deflated as they conceded the first goal in the 2-0 home defeat to Newport.

And while a team flowing with belief and confidence will drag themselves back into the contest, Cooper believes there were some worrying signs that players felt the writing was on the wall again as soon as the Blues went behind.

He said: ‘I just think some people need to realise that if we go a goal down, we are still in the game.

‘We cannot afford to let our heads drop and I think that happened.

‘We conceded a goal but there was still 25 minutes left to go.

‘We had plenty of time to turn things around after we went a goal down.

‘But it seemed like some people felt like we had lost the game already as soon as the first goal went in the back of the net.’

It’s a worrying trend and although confidence is bound to be affected by recent results, Cooper believes it is down to the individuals themselves to get things back on track and respond.

He said: ‘It’s about confidence and an individual’s mental strength.

‘There were two or three of us out there shouting “we are still in this”.

‘But if an individual doesn’t respond to it, they might feel they are having a bad game or they were responsible for the goal and dwelling on it mentally. I don’t know.

‘It’s something we have to be better at, along with other basic things.

‘They are very basic things.’

While new boss Richie Barker tried to find positives from defeat, Cooper revealed the frustrations.

He said: ‘He was as frustrated as everybody else in the stadium.

‘He noted the goals that we’d conceded but highlighted a few positives as well.

‘We were set up well and prepared for it but then the slightest loss of concentration and we concede.

‘We say it every time, though. We create chances through good play but then we concede bad goals.

‘It has to stop.’

STEVE WILSON