David Norris brushed off the disappointment of Steve Cotterill’s Fratton Park exit and admitted: We never lost our focus.
Pompey’s preparations for the visit of Barnsley were thrown into turmoil following the 47-year-old’s decision to take the vacant manager’s job at Nottingham Forest on Friday.
But Cotterill’s City Ground departure failed to stop Pompey registering only their third win of the season, with Norris and Luke Varney both netting inside two second-half minutes to secure three vital points against the Tykes.
Norris admitted he only heard of the former boss’ Forest move when he arrived at the club’s Eastleigh training base on Friday morning.
But he never let the news distract him from the job at hand – securing a much-needed win against Keith Hill’s side and ensuring Pompey move clear of the relegation zone.
‘Obviously, it’s been a difficult couple of days with what’s gone on and lots of distractions,’ said Norris.
‘And I think that would have been an easy excuse for us.
‘I said before the game, if we lose, we can use that as an easy excuse – the manager’s gone and this and that – but we didn’t want to do that.
‘And you know, I think we put in a performance.
‘I think we’ve got enough experienced pros who have been around the game long enough to know these things happen.
‘As much as I think the boys were disappointed to see Steve go, we had to just focus on the game and we did that.
‘It feels such a relief to be able to enjoy a result because we needed that win badly.’
Former Ipswich midfielder Norris, who was signed by Cotterill on a free transfer in the summer, admitted he was sorry to see his former boss end a 16-month association with Fratton Park.
However, he wished him the best of luck for his new role at Pompey’s Championship rivals.
‘I was disappointed, not in Steve, but just that he was going,’ said Norris.
‘But that’s football. He was a big reason why I came here, which is why I was disappointed but I wish him all the best.
‘I really enjoyed working under him.
‘He spoke to us all (on Friday) and it was a bit of an emotional talk.
‘But the lads wish him the best – it’s a good position for him.’
– MARK McMAHON