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POMPEY SWAGGER PLEASES COOK

5 March 2016

Boss pleased with Stevenage display

The travelling fans could be forgiven for feeling nervous as their side held a one-goal lead going into the closing stages at Stevenage.

Pompey had done the same at Exeter earlier in the week, only to concede a last-gasp equaliser.

But there was to be no late heartache at the Lamex Stadium, as they grabbed a second to secure a valuable victory.

Kal Naismith came off the bench to add to Marc McNulty’s first half strike, ensuring the points would return to the south coast.

And Paul Cook was pleased that his side refused to simply hold on and try to protect a slender advantage.

The Blues boss said: “Rather than try to dig results out, we want to play well and earn the three points.

“We’re not supposed to defend our box and rely on 1-0 wins – we’re supposed to score and that was the pleasing thing about the performance.

“We’ve been looking to put that swagger back into ourselves because it can get lost in all the nervousness.

“My job is to take the pressure off the players so they can go out and do their jobs – and our goals were top class.

“Stevenage hit the bar in the last minute, but even if they’d scored we’d have still won the game.

“They were excellent in the second half and never took a backwards step – they continually took the fight to us.

“But in the latter stages of the game we looked like we could open them up and score more goals.

“Great credit also has to go to our travelling support. They never let us down and I’m sure they enjoyed the journey home.”

Gary Roberts returned to the side after recovering from a hamstring problem, meaning that Tuesday’s scorer Conor Chaplin had to settle for a place on the bench.

Cook said: “Gary came straight back into the team and you could see the class he brings.

“It was a tough side to pick and I’m sure at five to three there were people asking why I picked some players instead of others.

“But it’s about the squad – and when you’ve got three games in a week it’s important that everyone plays their part.”

Watch Cook’s thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for extended interviews with the manager and Kal Naismith.


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