Cook calls for unity as he senses Pompey tension

Pompey celebrate during the win against Accrington. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey celebrate during the win against Accrington. Picture: Joe Pepler

Paul Cook told the Fratton faithful: We need you with us.

The Pompey boss sensed the nervous energy around Fratton Park as his team bundled their way past Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

Cook made no bones about the fact his team were a distance from their best, as they put two defeats on the bounce to bed with a 2-0 win.

But with Blackpool arriving tomorrow after smashing promotion-chasing Carlisle 4-1 on their own patch, he knows how important unity is going to prove.

Cook said: ‘We’re all nervous and we’re all agitated.

‘Those fans are so important to us, they really are. They turn up in their thousands home and away.

‘The scoreline created a nervous tension, though.

‘I thought we got nervous and edgy – but we won. I enjoyed last weekend at Wycombe and we got beat. I didn’t enjoy the game but we won.

‘It’s amazing. What feeling do you want as a manager?

‘I’m not criticising the fans, I’m genuinely not, because I understand the frustration. They were looking at us throwing away two points which could be massive to our pursuit of promotion.

‘The lads haven’t smiled enough. There’s not enough laughter around this club – I want to try to enjoy this run-in.

‘But it’s important we stay with each other.’

Defeat at Wycombe saw Pompey perform and come away empty-handed despite putting in a good showing.

The performance didn’t quite match the result this time around, but Cook wasn’t unduly concerned about that.

He said: ‘It’s the win. We’ve won at home and it stops a little bit of a run.

‘We’ve only lost two games on the bounce twice since I’ve come here.

‘That’s pleasing as a manager when you’ve been in management at a club as long as I’ve been.

‘Our bad runs are not horrific. No one lowers their colours here and continually lower them.

‘Last week I really enjoyed watching us play. We were bright and good.

‘We deserved something from the game, unfortunately we never got it.

‘This time we were a lot harder working rather than easy on the eye.’

Cook was frustrated his team didn’t make the best of counter-attacking opportunities after going in front after 75 seconds from Matt Clarke’s header.

There is some concern about the Fratton Park surface from the Pompey boss, but that isn’t going to bring a change in philosophy.

Cook said: ‘I don’t think the pitch is helping us if the truth be known.

‘It’s bare, bobbly and hard. We’re going to have to flood it and water it so it gives us a chance to pass the ball. But we’re staying on a page now. We won’t change.

‘Accrington threw caution to the wind in an effort to get back into a game.

‘That’s why when we’re breaking and there’s overloads you have to score again – because the second goal takes the life out of the game.

‘There were too many opportunities like that. Too many.

‘I was disappointed with that aspect of the game, but I’m not disappointed with the result.’