Appleton wants style change at The Den

Pompey and Southampton scrap at Fratton Park
Pompey and Southampton scrap at Fratton Park

It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t enthralling, but Pompey’s south coast derby display sure was effective.

Now Michael Appleton is looking for his players to return to the style of football he has begun to instil.

The Blues rescued a point on Sunday from a forgettable Southampton clash.

However, the occasion was played out in a fantastic Fratton Park atmosphere.

The effort and workrate of the players could not be faulted.

But the football on display was in contrast to that produced by Appleton’s side since he came to the club.

Scrappy at times and too many loose passes, it didn’t reflect the performance at Burnley the previous weekend.

Next up is a tricky trip to Millwall on Boxing Day.

The Blues head into the game four matches unbeaten.

And Appleton is looking for a different display from his troops.

He said: ‘I’m sure Nigel (Adkins) is exactly the same but sometimes these games get built up so much that players forget to play at times.

‘It just becomes us against them and you against me.

‘We were playing at the same pace out of possession as we were in possession.

‘I say to the players all the time – whether it is before the game or in training – about how important it is to stay in the game.

‘That especially applies when games are not a particularly great spectacle.

‘But I didn’t expect the Southampton match to be that.

‘Hopefully we can play differently in the next game.

‘I’m looking for us to take the form on to a difficult place in Millwall on Boxing Day.’

Pompey head to The Den on the back of finally breaking their away duck.

A 1-0 win at Burnley, the last time on their travels, was a first since March.

David Norris grabbed the last-gasp winner.

Now Appleton’s men will journey to south-east London for the 1pm kick-off with renewed confidence.

It is one of two away fixtures during the holiday period.

They also visit Leicester on New Year’s Eve.