Gary Roberts: We need Pompey magic from flair players

Gary Roberts. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Pompey have won only two of their six league matches at Fratton Park this season
  • Next two fixtures are away from home at Cambridge United and Newport County
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Gary Roberts has called on Pompey to start weaving the magic required to dispel stubborn defences.

The Blues collected a frustrating point against Yeovil at Fratton Park at the weekend as the game finished goalless.

As an offensive player you have got to try something different to break these teams down because they are so rigid and here to defend. They are so narrow, they get bodies behind the ball

Gary Roberts

Once again their path towards goal was thwarted by a resolute rearguard action from a team designed to grab a point.

It was the fourth time in six league home games this season that Pompey have failed to pick up a victory.

As one of Paul Cook’s flair players, Roberts is well aware of his responsibility to unlock the opposition.

And he acknowledges the Blues have to start conjuring up a way through if they are to enjoy success this season.

He said: ‘It’s frustrating, Yeovil just stuck men behind the ball and, if you watch football, it is hard to break teams down when they are set up like that.

‘But we have got to overcome that and try to break that down, especially at home.

‘You need that bit of magic and that is down to myself, Kyle Bennett, Gareth Evans, Kal Naismith and Conor Chaplin. We have got to have that bit of magic around the box and have a spark.

‘There were a couple of half-chances here and there on Saturday, but we didn’t have that spark in front of goal.

‘A bit of magic can get you a goal out of nothing and that is why, as players, we are in those positions.

‘They are your flair players, that is what they do, they change games through a bit of magic, but we have been just a little bit unlucky, huffing and puffing in front of goal without anything happening.

‘As an offensive player you have got to try something different to break these teams down because they are so rigid and here to defend. They are so narrow, they get bodies behind the ball.

‘It is down to us to break them down with a bit of skill and using our imagination.

‘Of course, it’s a lot easier from the stands watching it, it looks achievable, but Yeovil had come for a point.’

The Glovers entered the game third from bottom and sporting one of the worst goal differences in League Two.

However, once more visiting opposition raised their game to frustrate.

Roberts added: ‘I have never seen teams raise their game so much, especially coming to Fratton Park.

‘You see teams come here, get a draw and are then beaten by somebody in the lower half of the table the next game. I don’t think they defend like the way they do here.

‘It’s the biggest game of the season for them. No disrespect to the smaller clubs but it’s a massive game for them.

‘You can see at the end what it meant to Yeovil, they went over to their fans like they had won 4-0.

‘It’s like if we went to Arsenal, everyone raises their game. It’s a football thing and fair play to Yeovil, they defended well.

‘We have got to overcome that and be bigger and better.’