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COOK: WE MUST STICK TOGETHER

24 February 2016

Boss calls for unity after Barnet defeat

Defeat at Barnet saw the Blues drop out of the League Two play-off places.

John Akinde’s first half penalty was enough to settle a contest that was low on quality, if not endeavour.

It means that Pompey have now won just one of their last six league encounters, putting a huge dent in their promotion aspirations.

So Paul Cook has called on his side to stick together and stand up to the challenge that lies ahead.

The Blues boss said: “It’s very, very disappointing and I understand that the fans are really upset after the game. I’ve got no issues with that.

“I understand their frustration, but it’s at times like this when we really need them. We need each other.

“They’re willing us to get out of this league and that’s a burden that we can’t shirk away from. The players and I all have to carry it.

“We tried our best to play the game how I want it to be played, but unfortunately we just didn’t create enough chances.

“The players gave their all and there wasn’t a guy out there – especially in the second half – who shirked their responsibility.

“Barnet put us under pressure with their long throws and physicality, fighting and scrapping.

“We had to be brave with the ball and it took until half-time for us to have the belief that we could do that.

“Then we dominated the second half without ever really looking like scoring and we have to take the criticism.

“We’re all flat and disappointed, but there are 15 games still to go and the fact is that we must bounce back.”

Cook refused to blame the officials for the award of a Barnet spot-kick and their failure to give Pompey one for an alleged handball after the break.

He said: “I’m not criticising referees because the decisions go for you and they go against you.

“You shouldn’t have to rely on one split-second decision and if that’s the case then you haven’t done enough in the 90 minutes.”

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