Cook celebrates Pompey progress as he marks century

Paul Cook during his 100th game in charge of Pompey against Newport on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook during his 100th game in charge of Pompey against Newport on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Paul Cook celebrated Pompey’s progress after bringing up his century.

The Blues boss admitted he felt his side would have struggled to see out victory against Newport County 12 months ago.

Cook’s outfit picked up a 2-1 win over the Exiles in his 100th game in charge of the team.

The success represented his 46th win during his reign and it moved Pompey six points clear of Stevenage in the top three.

Cook felt it was far from a vintage win – but can see his team developing.

He said: ‘I didn’t think they played particularly well if the truth be known.

‘It was my 100th game today. I’ve won 46 games. Within that you have to have lads feeling more comfortable playing for the club.

‘The fans seem to be more comfortable with the team. And they also know our limitations.

‘When you can see that it makes you more receptive to the problem.

‘When we played Grimsby and Colchester we looked like the team I wanted us to be.

‘Against Stevenage we fell short. In patches against Newport I thought we played well.

‘But late on we got nervous. It doesn’t bother me because the learning curve is being there.

‘Last year people would’ve felt we’d have conceded. We would have. Gareth Evans makes an unbelievable tackle this time.

‘So we remember the result – Pompey win 2-1.’

Cook explained it was far from a vibrant dressing room after the game after Pompey laboured over the finale.

A comfortable afternoon became tense when Alex Samuel made it 2-1 in the 76th minute.

‘The dressing room was quiet after the game,’ Cook said

‘The goal stunned us. It’s amazing the effect goals have on confidence.

‘The fans had been singing quite buoyantly enjoying their Saturday afternoon in the sun.

‘The could feel the anxiety all of a sudden. That’s football.

‘You’ve got to have players who are prepared to get hold of the ball.

‘We gave the ball away far too much late on.

‘As a passing team you need to keep the ball. Dominate the ball.

‘You need to be brave and that’s a big learning curve for our players.

‘But the game was about winning – and the lads did that.’

Cook celebrated the performances which made a difference in the victory.

Kyle Bennett scored his fourth goal in as many starts, Kal Naismith bagged his 10th of the campaign and David Forde made some important stops.

Cook said: ‘We have a very strong squad. Within that we expect our players to play well.

‘Kal Naismith is doing really, really well. Kyle is in a really good place at the minute. That’s the case with a few of our lads.

‘David Forde is so happy-go-lucky around the club every day.

‘Benno (Bennett) is the same. It’s great to have these players in a good place.

‘Normally when you are happy off the pitch it leads to you playing well on it. The better the happy camp is the more the players will enjoy it. There’s plenty of teams who will be feeling it right now. We need to enjoy it.’