Ertl: We will grind it out

Pompey captain Johnny Ertl goes on the defensive against Fleetwood Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey captain Johnny Ertl goes on the defensive against Fleetwood Picture: Joe Pepler

Johnny Ertl has warned Pompey: We have to be prepared to grind out results.

The Blues suffered a third defeat on home turf this season when they went down to Fleetwood Town 1-0 on Saturday.

But they travel to York City this weekend protecting an unbeaten away record in League Two.

In the 2-1 win at Burton Albion on their last road trip, Pompey struck the right balance between attacking enterprise and defensive solidity.

And Pompey skipper Ertl makes no apologies for wanting substance over style.

He said: ‘Of course it’s nice when everyone is playing well and we play really nice, attacking football.

‘But last time we played away from home, we ground out a result and we have said before that we don’t have to play pretty football all the time.

‘The game at Burton, we were really patient and settled.

‘We took the speed out of the game and then did what we are good at.

‘We didn’t create as many chances as we had in games before.

‘But we are unbeaten away from home and we want to continue that. We need to show the same spirit again.’

While Saturday’s home loss was a setback for Pompey, Ertl believes there is still a way to go before the team is settled and everyone understands exactly what is required.

But, importantly, he is seeing progress – even in the minor incidents within games.

The Austrian said: ‘I think we are a work in progress still.

‘We have worked very hard on little bits and bobs.

‘Right now, we are closer together as a team than we were at the start of the season when everyone joined.

‘There are little things – like a moment the referee gives a free-kick and we are all around fighting for each other.

‘It shows me, as captain, that everybody’s there and working in the same direction.

‘We see everybody making tackles and giving everything for the cause.’

Pompey have mustered just one win at Fratton Park this season as they try to find a winning formula.

But, aside from the victory over Morecambe, they have played their better football away from home this season.

While some believe that’s down to their style of play, others pinpoint the fixture list, which has pitted Pompey against three of League Two’s leading sides so far on home soil.

But it’s worth remembering that it’s a new team that is still finding its feet and will take time to bed in.

And even those players who have been here longer have been affected by the summer overhaul.

Ertl explained: ‘As captain, it lifts me when I play.

‘But at the beginning of the season, I was running around in circles because there were so many things to do at this club.

‘There were a lot of expectations and it felt like I was rushing around a bit too much.

‘But that is different now.’