Cook: Impressive Bennett doesn’t deserve boos

Kyle Bennett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Kyle Bennett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Paul Cook believes the boo boys should lay off Kyle Bennett.

The Pompey boss paid tribute to Bennett after an impressive return to the side in the win at Leyton Orient.

The 26-year-old came back into Cook’s starting XI after just one start in the previous seven league games.

Bennett has found himself the subject of criticism from a section of supporters.

There were even a smattering of boos when he was introduced against Barnet at Fratton Park last month.

The 1,328 away supporters chanted the attacking talent’s name, however, when he was withdrawn after 81 minutes on Saturday.

Cook heaped praise on Bennett for his performance and feels any criticism of the player is ‘ridiculous’.

He said: ‘I don’t normally single players out, but Kyle deserves a special mention.

‘I thought he was excellent throughout.

‘I thought he was so courageous in his play, the way he took the ball forward and his balance.

‘I think we have to draw the line sometimes with players.

‘Michael Smith and Kyle have received ridiculous criticism. It’s not right.

‘I don’t really want to get into a debate about it.

‘Fans pay their money and are entitled to say and do what they want.

‘But our players come in every day and I can guarantee to supporters they want it so much.

‘To turn on our own is not right. My way is to support us all.

‘If one day our results aren’t good enough we’ll have a new manager and new players.

‘But, until then, stay with us as much as you can.

‘Kyle’s a great kid. He really has matured and is a really popular figure in the dressing room.

‘I showed my trust in Kyle Bennett by picking him to start the game and I think he gave me everything back.’

Bennett has spoken of staying focused on winning his place back after being left on the sidelines.

The former Doncaster man was also adamant he wouldn’t agitate when not named in Cook’s starting side.

Cook feels has been an example to his team-mates and stressed that to Danny Rose and Kal Naismith after they found themselves in the same situation on Saturday.

He said: ‘He’s been a credit to himself since he’s been out of the team.

‘I said to the players left out, the quicker we have that team spirit and togetherness the better our chance of us getting somewhere.’

Pompey’s win on Saturday proved to be dominant against an Orient side who had Italian Alberto Cavasin in charge for the first time.

The margin of victory should really have been greater as they clocked up 17 shots to the O’s seven.

Cook said: ‘That’s what we’re about.

‘You can lose sight of what you do by players coming in.

‘We may add one or two but we won’t look to make a lot of changes now.

‘Every one of our players played well to a man.

‘That was through hard work and effort, allied to bits of quality.’

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