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Fixture News

Cowley: We Should Be Scoring More

Boss wants Blues to be ruthless at Sunderland

21 January 2022

Danny Cowley
Photo: Nigel Keene

Much has been made of Pompey’s contrasting fortunes at each end of the pitch this season.

Danny Cowley’s men possess one of the best defensive records in League One, although have found scoring goals more difficult.

There was a snapshot of that at AFC Wimbledon earlier in the week, when the side kept a sixth clean sheet in seven games, but could not find a breakthrough at the other end.

And it is clear for Cowley where his side need to improve if they are close the gap to the play-off places.

The Blues boss said: “Our expected goals on Tuesday night was over two, but we’re just not finding that ruthlessness we need.

“That’s what we need to keep working towards because we’ve kept 13 clean sheets, which is the most in the league.

“We had good control and dominance at AFC Wimbledon, but if we want to achieve what we’re aiming for, then you need to find a way of winning.

“When you look at the number of crosses we get into the box and the number of touches, then we should be scoring more goals.

"If we want to achieve what we’re aiming for, then you need to find a way of winning."

Danny Cowley

“We’re doing a really good job of getting into the final third, but need to keep working on that final action and remember that attacking is an 11-man job.

“Football has been fixated with playing with one forward in recent times, but we feel that two up top is the way to go for us right now.

“Defenders might not be as used to trying to stop two forwards, so there’s a lot going for you and it gives you an extra attacker on the pitch.”

Pompey make their longest trip of the season to face third-placed Sunderland this weekend, having beaten their opponents 4-0 at a sodden Fratton Park earlier in the campaign.

Cowley said: “We’re certainly anticipating that it’s going to be a little bit drier than the last time we faced them!

“There was a lot to like about our own performance that day against a juggernaut of a club at this level.

“Sunderland have got a very good home record and we know it’s a brilliant test of our defensive organisation, our ability in possession and how far we’ve progressed.

“They have a fantastic squad and a nice blend of youth and experience, so I anticipate they’ll be in the top two positions come May.

“We played on Tuesday, while they had a free week. We’ve also got a long trip up there, so these are the mental and physical challenges we have to be ready for.”

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