PAUL COOK lauded his team’s creative capabilities after an impressive display against Bournemouth.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe fielded a strong side at Fratton Park on Saturday, while recent £15m recruit Jordan Ibe was a half-time introduction.
I enjoy us playing against teams when you know the likelihood is you will get a good matchPaul Cook
Yet the match finished 3-3, with the Blues twice taking the lead before Adam May’s last-gasp leveller.
It was an eye-catching display from the hosts, who demonstrated plenty of slick play during an excellent fixture between two footballing sides.
Gary Roberts and Michael Smith also netted in a match which served as Alan McLoughlin’s benefit game.
And Cook was delighted with how his team fared against their Premier League opponents.
He said: ‘Tuesday at Salisbury was a difficult night, Saturday was a different game against Premier league opposition but the outcome is the same – a draw.
‘The reality is we are working our way towards the season and how strong we want to be, how well we want play and how we want to improve.
‘Our style is there for everyone to see, we played against a Premier League team with some really serious footballers on a carpet of a pitch which was not a leveller.
‘It was a really good game and I believe our squad is getting a little bit stronger as well – that is the pleasing thing for our supporters.
‘We will always get a good game when two teams are trying to win, the problem we have, as our supporters know, is when one team comes to try to stop us winning which is by playing negatively.
‘That is something we have to deal with, get on with it.
‘I enjoy us playing against teams when you know the likelihood is you will get a good match.
‘Against the likes of Ipswich, Derby and Bournemouth we always turn up and our supporters know we will be involved in good games and that is pleasing.
‘The reality is we must improve against teams we are expected to beat.’
Alex Bass started against the Cherries as Cook still searches to resolve his goalkeeping issues.
With Paul Jones sidelined by injury, triallist Chris Kanopka played the second half.
However, the American looked shaky and did not convince the Fratton faithful.
Cook added: ‘We will just keep working towards strengthening.
‘We are always trying to bring players in and the most important thing is we get the right one.
‘Saturday’s game was lovely for Alex (Bass), everyone can see what a good goalkeeper he is going to be, he has all the hallmarks and traits of a keeper.
‘But he is young and needs to keep gaining experience, there is no experience like playing.
‘For any young lad, playing is the best experience.’