Plea from boss after Trophy win
It was a result that lifted some of the Fratton gloom following an FA Cup exit at the weekend.
A late goal from Kal Naismith ensured Pompey beat Bristol Rovers and kept alive their hopes of reaching the Checkatrade Trophy knockout stage.
That came after Michael Smith had seen his penalty saved in the opening few minutes at a damp Fratton Park.
And now Paul Cook wants to see his side playing with freedom as they look to take that winning feeling into their forthcoming league encounters.
The Blues boss said: “We looked nervy at times and didn’t pass the ball anywhere near as well as we have done.
“But we’ve had a difficult few days after the FA Cup result and that negativity can have an effect on everyone.
“Football should be played with a smile on your face and that’s what we’ve got to create at this club.
“It’s not about tactics and formations, it’s about winning and that was the most pleasing thing about the game.
“We’ve kept a clean sheet and Kal showed his ability with the goal, so now we need to see more from him.”
Cook made eight changes for the group stage encounter and handed the captain’s armband to Ben Close.
He said: “This competition is what it is and we’ve always picked a side that we feel is good enough to go out and win the game.
“Ben deserved to be captain. He’s a fantastic young man who conducts himself really well and is a credit to his family.”
Watch Cook’s thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for full post-match content.