Ertl: We’ve learned from red woes

Johnny Ertl. Picture: Sarah Standing (131975-2188)
Johnny Ertl. Picture: Sarah Standing (131975-2188)

Johnny Ertl believes the
Blues have learned their lessons 
from their red-card woes.

Pompey have been reduced to 10 men three times already this term – twice in home fixtures at Fratton Park when both games ended in defeat.

Ertl himself was the first to see red for Pompey this season – on the opening day against Oxford.

His stray arm in an aerial challenge was deemed to be an elbow by the referee.

But both David Connolly and Yassin Moutaouakil have subsequently been given their marching orders for off-the-ball incidents.

And Ertl admits the instant punishment to the team then continues for the player – with a subsequent three-match ban costing match sharpness and making it a battle to reclaim a place in the side.

The Pompey skipper said: ‘These things happen in football.

‘Sometimes you don’t know what you are doing, you do it and then just after you are thinking “what the heck have I done?”

‘As a player, you go through a learning process.

‘But if you have a three-match ban for violent conduct, it’s really difficult to find the rhythm again.

‘You are playing games, in the rhythm, and then all of a sudden you drift away a little bit.

‘We’ve got a good squad, so you then have to wait for your chance again and grab it with both hands.

‘I got sent off in the first game, then David and then Yassin.

‘It’s a huge difference between when you have 10 and 11 men on the pitch.

‘This is three red cards in seven games and we know, as a team, we have got to improve that.

‘We can’t let this happen in the future any more.

‘We all know it anyway – the boss doesn’t have to say it to us.’

While Ertl is an outspoken character and captain of the side, he has decided against adding his own input after Connolly and Moutaoukil’s loss of control.

The Austrian said: ‘It’s not for me – this is up to the manager’s discretion.

‘When people get a red card, they sit down with the manager afterwards and he will deal with that.’

Guy Whittingham spoke to those concerned in the wake of their dismissals, but the boss believes there is no deeper problem with team discipline – instead pointing the blame at the individuals for their reactions.

He said: ‘We know as a team the discipline isn’t bad.

‘But as individuals, they have to make sure they keep their heads. For me, that is not a team thing.

‘I looked on the Football League website and we were bottom of the league for discipline.

‘We had given the least amount of fouls away and we have three red cards and five bookings.

‘That is not a lot of bookings and not a lot of fouls given away.’