Cook enjoying early-season Pompey showing

Kyle Bennett netted for Pompey against Dagenham. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kyle Bennett netted for Pompey against Dagenham. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey fans aren’t the only ones savouring their team’s style of football this season – their manager is also enjoying the spectacle.

Only four matches in and Paul Cook is pleased how his Blues side is developing.

With three wins and a draw from all competitions, it is an encouraging early-season haul.

In addition, the three League Two matches have each seen Pompey achieve more than 60-per-cent possession, despite two being away from home.

Next up is the visit of Morecambe to Fratton Park on Saturday.

This is still the fledging Pompey career of Cook, yet there is plenty about his side making him smile at present.

He said: ‘As a manager I enjoy watching us play.

‘We’ll go to Luton and play the same way, at Oxford we’ll play the same way, we won’t take backwards steps. We want to engage in good games, if other teams don’t that is not my problem.

‘There have already been games when the opposition couldn’t get the ball off us, but then people might criticise you for not scoring goals, this is the balance to teams.

‘At the end of the day any team has the right to play how they want. My philosophy is playing good, attractive football, trying to dominate possession and win games.

‘I always feel if you can do both then supporters will be quite happy.

‘We will play the same away from home as at home, I think our fans are learning that quite quickly. It doesn’t really bother us when people say our away form is bad for example, I don’t really grasp that.

‘We don’t play the crowd, we don’t play the terraces, we play the XI lads on the pitch and if you are having 60-plus per cent possession of a ball the likelihood is you should be getting somewhere.

‘The problems will be when teams get a lot of players behind the ball and try to frustrate us.

‘It pleases me that on Tuesday we came away from home, dominated and played in a really good and correct manner.

‘Unfortunately we weren’t good enough to break them down.’

Both fans and players are still adjusting to Cook’s favoured 4-2-3-1 system, a formation which largely brought about his success at Chesterfield previously.

And the 48-year-old retains every faith his techniques will keep achieving.

He added: ‘You play at Bognor, for example, in pre-season and the whole emphasis is on you winning the game.

‘Then we went up against Derby and didn’t quite have the possession stats as against Dagenham, but the system is the way it is.

‘The system is built to be able to soak up pressure or attack, a lot of it depends on what the opposition decide to do themselves on the day.

‘Keeping possession should deflate the opposition, it should tire them, should make gaps appear.

‘Against Dagenham I was disappointed we didn’t go on and score more goals.

‘I felt they were there to beat, not being disrespectful to anyone.

‘We’ll just keep it going. It’s repetitive football. In training the lads have really bought into what I believe. Without the hard work I don’t think you get success.’