Cook: Game time more important than result

Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain was on the mark for Pompey Picture: Joe Pepler
Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain was on the mark for Pompey Picture: Joe Pepler
Milan Lalkovic celebrates his goal at Newport. Picture: Neil Marshall

Free-scoring Pompey’s slice of pre-season history

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Paul Cook focused on minutes rather than the scoreline after Pompey slipped to their first defeat of the pre-season.

National League newcomers Sutton United ran out 2-1 winners at Gander Green Lane this afternoon.

Substitute Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain’s strike nine minutes from time at least gave the Blues something from the match.

Yet until Pompey’s 69th-minute introduction of nine substitutes, the non-league hosts had been comfortably the better side with a 2-0 first-half lead.

And irrespective of the scoreline, Cook believes his side picked up crucial experience and vital match minutes.

He said: ‘It is a typical pre-season game, for the starting XI it was more minutes for players.

‘I was disappointed with how we played in the first half but that is young lads trying to find a way into the team.

‘It was Curtis Main’s first start for us, we tried to play with two up front with Conor Chaplin as well and were the second best for long spells.

‘The second half of the game balanced itself out a lot more and we could certainly have introduced subs quicker if we felt the game meant more to us.

‘But today was about getting more lads minutes and progression towards the season’s campaign.

‘You have got to learn, you don’t learn by sitting on benches and sitting in stands.’