Beautiful game is great – but Pompey want to win

Ben Close. Picture: Shaun Boggust
Ben Close. Picture: Shaun Boggust
Pompey keeper Luke McGee. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

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Ben Close understands Pompey fans want to see attractive football.

But, as Kenny Jackett has been stressing to his squad, it has to be winning football as well.

Close, 20, is vying for a starting position in midfield ahead of next weekend’s big kick-off against Rochdale.

And he has taken on board the mantra being preached by Pompey’s new manager.

Close said: ‘It’s gone a bit quiet with the American (prospective owner Michael Eisner).

‘The new manager has taken the limelight since he came in.

‘As players, he’s the man we see.

‘So we’re just trying to impress him and get into the first team and squad for the first day of the season.

‘He’s made that clear (that’s the aim) in the games he’s had so far and training.

‘He does want us to play attractive football at the right time and in the right areas.

‘The most important thing though, and he has made it clear, is he wants winning football.

‘He wants us to win games and be a winning side.’

Close, like many of his young team-mates, are upbeat about the prospect of meaningful playing time under their new manager.

And the Southsea talent is confident he can handle the level his team will be operating in next term.

Close said: ‘From players talking, they say there’s not a great deal of difference between League Two and League One.

‘I’ve heard different things.

‘There will be bigger clubs in League One and teams with bigger budgets.

‘They will be able to spend on better players this season.

‘So it will be a bigger challenge, of course it will.

‘The squad we have is very confident, though.

‘We won as a squad last season and there’s no reason we can’t do well this season.

‘The players haven’t spoken about a target.

‘We just want to get the league going. We just want to get to the first game.’

– JORDAN CROSS