Appleton: I’m in it for the long haul

Joel Ward's all-round game impressed Pompey boss Michael Appleton
Joel Ward's all-round game impressed Pompey boss Michael Appleton
Matty Kennedy. Picture: Joe Pepler

Kennedy ‘surprised’ at Pompey omission – but determined to return

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Michael Appleton registered his first win as Pompey boss amid the ongoing uncertainty at the club but declared: I’m here for the long term.

The new Blues boss was left disappointed last week when news broke that owners Convers Sports Initiatives had been placed in administration, threatening his vision for the club.

But after promising that off-the-field events would not affect his team’s performances, Appleton was delighted to grab his first win at the helm after a 2-1 success over Coventry City.

And while others might be looking for a quick escape route, the Pompey boss is determined to build for the future.

He said: ‘I don’t see this job as a short-term fix for myself.

‘I feel as though I’m at an age where I can stick around at Portsmouth for a long, long time, given the opportunity.

‘I know that managers sometimes don’t get that time in football, so I’m not stupid enough to think that’s definitely going to happen and that it will be that easy.

‘But I want to create something at Portsmouth and hopefully people will see the stuff I’m trying to create from the past couple of performances.

‘It’s fantastic to get that first win.

‘To win any game of football feels really good but to win my first one in management at Portsmouth is great.

‘From my point of view, I felt we needed to continue improving the performances and I think we did that again.

‘With everything that’s gone on this week, I knew that the three points were the most important thing from this match – and we got that.

‘We made life difficult for ourselves at times because we should have won by three or four, if I’m being honest.

‘And that’s my only criticism. We need to be more ruthless in the coming weeks.

‘But I was really pleased with the boys and we created numerous opportunities.’

Appleton has already set about changing the team system and the style of play after taking charge.

And his orders to make a quick start to the game against the Sky Blues were taken on board by his players.

‘I was pleased because it was a really good start to the game,’ he said.

‘The last thing I said to them before they left the dressing room was how important a quick start would be.

‘We had to make sure we put pressure on Coventry and I think we did that.

‘We had a couple of half-chances before we got the penalty and then created one or two more after that in the first half.

‘A little bit of a lapse of concentration got them back into the game but there were times in the second half where we really opened them up and created a lot of chances.’

With Joel Ward’s opportunism winning Pompey a first-half penalty, Appleton was also delighted with the quick free-kick that created the chance for Ward’s winner.

He said: ‘I was really pleased with Joel.

‘I ask the players not to stop and not to give up on anything.

‘You never know when an opportunity will arise or when someone might take their eye off the ball.

‘Joel did that and he ended up getting a penalty for us.

‘And we talked about the quick free-kicks last week after Leicester.

‘There were some opportunities and I was a little bit annoyed with them at half-time for not doing that.

‘They took that on board, especially George (Thorne) but Joel as well.

‘Joel still had a little bit of work to do and it was a fantastic finish.

‘But we should have then gone on and won by more.’