Gaffer for a day Bradley Saunders gives his verdict on the 3-0 win at Carlisle
First of all, what did you make of the game as a whole?
The first half was a bit slow but in the second half we stepped up and really showed what we’re made of.
We came out looking strong and played like we should have done from the first whistle. Eventually we steamrollered them, which was great to see.
It was quite an open game and over the last couple of seasons we probably would have conceded once we were 1-0 up, but we showed real fight and the second goal was top class.
So what do you think changed in the second half?
I think the change of system to a 3-5-2 was a really brave decision by Paul Cook, especially with how much was at stake. If we had lost then that would have been automatic promotion out the window, but fair play to the players who executed it brilliantly and in the end it worked well.
Who stood out for you?
David Forde. I thought if he hadn’t been in goal then we probably would have lost.
His distribution was good and when he comes out and catches crosses it’s almost like having an extra defender. I know he’s come in for a fair bit of stick this season because he’s not the best shot-stopper but I don’t think Cook wants that in his keeper and he prefers that keeper-sweeper-type player.
What did you make of the team performance?
It was so nice seeing us play as a team. So often this season we’ve seen them struggle, and when that happens they tend to become a group of individuals.
But on Saturday they were a proper collective unit right until the end which really gave us in the stands something to shout about.
You mentioned the crowd there, how was the atmosphere?
It was brilliant. It was just so nice too see the fans getting behind the team. Me and my mates follow Pompey all around the country and it’s so annoying when the fans don’t get behind them.
It’s understandable to a point, but you’ll never win games like that if that’s the case.
If the fans are on edge then it usually filters through to the players and if they’re on edge it doesn’t benefit anyone.
– JACK WILLIAMS