Appleton lifts lid on half-time talks

114115-479_WATFORD_POMPEY_SR_19/11/11'Action from Watford vs Pompey at Vicarage Road.'Michael Appleton watches the game from the technical area.''Picture:Steve Reid 114115-479
114115-479_WATFORD_POMPEY_SR_19/11/11'Action from Watford vs Pompey at Vicarage Road.'Michael Appleton watches the game from the technical area.''Picture:Steve Reid 114115-479

Pompey 1 Walsall 1: Jordan Cross’ match report

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It took just 45 minutes of his reign but Pompey’s players have already felt the wrath of Michael Appleton.

The new Blues boss admitted he set upon his side at half-time in Saturday’s abject 2-0 defeat at Watford.

Both goals came during an appalling first half.

Matters improved marginally after the break, although it wasn’t enough to change the scoreline.

Pompey’s large travelling contingent were furious with the display, making their feelings known when they chanted: ‘What a load of rubbish.’

And Appleton revealed he had delivered a few home truths of his own to the players at half-time.

He said: ‘There were a few harsh words which, I felt, needed to be said and I got it out of my system.

‘Second half was a little bit better but you expect that.

‘There was not enough quality in possession of the ball and that was the biggest thing for me.

‘We need to pass the ball better, move the ball better and have willing runners running in the right areas.

‘There were a few choice words about certain issues but it was more the manner of the goals rather than the quality of the goals.

‘They weren’t good enough – I told the players that. At the end of the day there is a lot of experience in there, players who have played in the Premier League.

‘It says it all I suppose that an 18 year-old kid comes on (Abdul Razak), tries to put his foot on the ball and show a little bit of composure.

‘You would expect that from the players already out there.’

Meanwhile, Appleton revealed injury wasn’t behind Tal Ben Haim’s half-time withdrawal.

The Israel international didn’t appear after the break, Benjani replacing him.

And Pompey’s manager insisted the decision was entirely tactical.

He added: ‘The balance of the team didn’t look right.

‘They were hurting us too much on the right-hand side and I just felt our balance wasn’t quite right, so I thought I needed to change it up a little bit and took off Tal.

‘I think it worked from that point of view. We looked a little bit more balanced second half.’