Burgess’ Pompey set-piece promise

Christian Burgess. Picture: Neil Marshall
Christian Burgess. Picture: Neil Marshall
Matty Kennedy. Picture: Joe Pepler

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CHRISTIAN BURGESS admitted Pompey need to cut out their set-piece deficiencies.

But the Blues defender promised there is work going on to put right the Achilles heel of Paul Cook’s side last season.

And Burgess has told of his pride at a defensive record only bettered by one side last term.

The countdown to the start of the new campaign is now gathering pace, with a packed Fratton Park crowd expected for the curtain-raiser with Carlisle on Saturday.

A concern, though, has been seeing four goals shipped from corners in pre-season.

That continues a habit which regularly reared his head throughout the last campaign.

Despite that, only Oxford United conceded fewer league goals than the 44 Cook’s men let in.

Burgess expressed his pleasure at that, and explained they will work on the defensive aspects they need to improve.

He said: ‘We’ve conceded a few recently (set-pieces).

‘It’s not a problem for me, though. It’s something we’ll work on at the training ground.

‘I think we have to do that. We have to work at everything.

‘If we improve that area we’ll have a great chance of winning games.

‘We had a lot of balls in the box last season and it’s something we have to look at and improve. We’ll be looking at it.

‘But we had a really good defensive record. I was certainly proud of that.

‘Whether that was given coverage or not is not what I’m really in to.

‘It doesn’t bother me, but as a unit we’re proud of that.

‘That goes as a whole unit as we play.

‘Hopefully, the way we play we control games and aren’t going to concede many.

‘We have to look for a way to improve because some of the goals we did give away were sloppy.

‘If we stop those we’ll have the best defensive record – that’s what we want to strive for.’

Like the fans, Pompey’s players are waiting to see who gets the nod to be in Cook’s starting XI on Saturday.

Burgess thinks, whoever starts at the back, there is now depth to ensure a strong battle for players to earn minutes.

He said: ‘It’s great to see Clarkey (Matt Clarke). It’s a straight swap with Webbo (Adam Webster) and we’ve also had Tom Davies come in.

‘He’s looking good in training and Jack Whatmough is now back with us.

‘We’re all competing, which is good to see. We have to fight for our place and that’s the way it should be.

‘Whoever is starting there is a tremendous atmosphere.

‘The boys have been great who have come in and it’s a good place to be. We’ll be supporting each other and the best way to do that is to play as well as we can.

‘Hopefully, we’ll be strong come the first game.’