Cotterill: My players can voice their own opinions

Conor Chaplin, left, and Brett Pitman Picture: Shaun Boggust

Pompey new boy can make Chaplin thrive

Steve Cotterill insists his players are entitled to their own opinions after Liam Lawrence's recent criticism of Pompey.

Lawrence, who has just joined on a permanent deal, hit out over what he perceived was poor treatment by the club of Michael Brown and Richard Hughes in the wake of the duo's contract wrangles.

That came despite chief executive David Lampitt insisting the midfielders had been given 'very reasonable offers'.

While Lawrence's views may not have been welcomed by everyone at Pompey, Cotterill believes players should have the right to express their feelings.

And the Blues boss admits he has had to keep some of his own opinions under wraps on occasions.

Cotterill said: 'If I go down the negative route, where does that leave us?

'Since coming here I've tried to send out positive messages.

'Any negative vibes I tend to bottle up and keep to myself.

'I don't want to go down that route.

'Liam voiced his opinion and that's his opinion. It's his prerogative.

'He answered questions how he answered them. Sometimes managers have to be a bit more diplomatic than players.'

It's a tough balancing act for Cotterill as he tries to move on from the club's recent troubles to build a bright new era.

But there are still major difficulties for the Blues boss in attempting to do his job.

He said: 'Players can say what's in their heart and how they feel and managers have to say nothing!

'It's difficult because you want to tell the truth, but you can't say everything.

'I won't be the only one doing that, though.'