Appleton refusing to compromise on Pompey principles

Pompey boss Michael Appleton. Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey boss Michael Appleton. Picture: Robin Jones
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Michael Appleton has vowed not to sacrifice his footballing principles as Pompey continue to find their League One feet.

The Blues were on the receiving end of a bruising Fratton Park defeat against Oldham last weekend.

It was an often uncompromising clash during which the hosts largely struggled to cope with the physicality of Paul Dickov’s side.

Not that the Latics are any exception in a division which is clearly going to test Appleton’s burning desire to play entertaining and attacking football.

There were also moments in the games with Carlisle and Colchester where the Blues have allowed themselves to be bullied.

Tonight sees the visit of Bournemouth once again – this time in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

And Appleton has no thoughts of altering his preferred playing style in a bid to unearth a first win in five matches this season.

He said: ‘There is absolutely no chance whatsoever of changing the way we play.

‘If you want someone to change or want Pompey to play a different way then you need to go and find someone else to manage us. I am quite happy to stand aside.

‘The style of my team is exactly what you have seen over the last three or four games and probably the back end of last season as well.

‘I want us to pass the ball and move the ball and make it difficult for the opposition to get near us.

‘At times, when we do it, we look good – we have just got to do it at the right times and in the right areas of the pitch and we will cause a lot of people a lot of problems.

‘If we do that using two or three touches we will be fine, we will pass people off the park.

‘But I think a lot of the lads on Saturday took four, five or six touches on the ball and it slowed us down a little bit and we never got an opportunity to get in behind Oldham.

‘We put them under a lot of pressure and spent a lot of time in their half without really creating too much. As they defended so deep it was difficult. We need to learn from that, though, because I think that is pretty much going to be a pattern at Fratton Park with a lot of teams coming here.’

Pompey are likely to make several changes to the side which lost to Oldham on Saturday.

That will include a debut for recent recruit Josh Thompson, while Kevin Long is available again following suspension. Blues fans have, of course, already seen Bournemouth this term – on the opening day – and know their preference is also to play football.

They certainly play in a different manner to many League One sides.

Although Appleton does not believe more uncompromising approaches should affect his side.

He added: ‘The physical side shouldn’t impact on us.

‘It’s just that the players are going to have to get used to that.

‘Every opposition we have played have had some big players, so we have to deal with the physical side of it.

‘I think you earn the right to play and if we pass the ball as well as we can – but at the right times – we’ll cause problems.

‘I fully expect to get a good reaction this week and we will continue to do what we know and try to do it as best as we can.’