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COOK: A GREAT EXPERIENCE

10 August 2016

Boss says youngsters will grow from narrow cup loss

Paul Cook had already explained that the EFL Cup was not at the top of his list of priorities for the season.

But he was still annoyed to see his side fall at the first hurdle against League One outfit Coventry at the Ricoh Arena.

Cook made 11 changes from the side that drew with Carlisle in the league three days earlier, which included starts for teenagers Alex Bass and Adam May.

And it looked like an upset might be on the cards when Curtis Main opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

But the visitors netted twice after the break, only to be pegged back by a stunning free-kick from stand-in left-back Kal Naismith.

In the end, an extra-time strike from Andy Rose settled the first round tie and cruelly dumped Pompey out of the competition.

Cook said:  “We’re very disappointed, but it was great for some of our younger lads like Bassy and May, who were excellent.

“They will grow from that experience, while I think you can see what Adam Buxton will bring to the side once we get a bit more fitness into him.

“It was a perfect strike from Kal and he showed some fine qualities. You could see what a talented boy he is at times.

“Everyone knows what our priority is this year, but I thought our squad represented the club in the right manner.

“I made 11 changes, but I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t believe that these lads are good enough to play.

“We tired as time went on, but overall I thought that we stuck to the plan really well and certain people got minutes under their belts.

“Coventry are a very good side, with some dangerous forward players, so to come here and be in the game for so long is pleasing. They always posed a threat and we wish them well in the competition.

“Great credit must also go to our fans, who travelled in large numbers yet again and provided a decent atmosphere.”

Watch Cook’s thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for full post-Coventry reaction.


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