MICHAEL DOYLE has demanded Pompey’s players take responsibilty for the team’s stuttering start to the campaign.
The Blues captain admitted the club’s fans are owed a performance after the disappointing loss at Morecambe on Tuesday.
And Doyle feels the onus is on him and his team-mates to deliver in the wake of some early-season angst being aimed at Paul Cook.
Pompey will look to get their first win of the campaign at the fifth time of asking against Colchester tomorrow.
But with Cook the subject of some fan flak, the Irishman feels it’s the men who cross the white line tomorrow who need to step up.
‘It’s down to the players who take to the field,’ said Doyle.
‘It’s disappointing for us as players, because a performance like Tuesday always reflects on the manager.
‘I think we are a better bunch of players to be offering up what we did in the first half at Morecambe.
‘Again, we have to do things right and put in a performance.
‘As players, we probably get away with it a bit too much sometimes.
‘We get away with the flak sometimes.
‘People can criticise you individually but sometimes it’s easy to hide behind one man.
‘It’s easy for the manager to stand up for us all. He’ll take it because that’s the way he is.
‘But it’s not fair, and we, as players, need to offer up better.
‘We’ve had a slow start. Crewe and Carlisle will be around that top seven – but it’s still a slow start by the expectations we have. Now we have to put that right.’
Despite it being just three games into the league campaign, there are fans already raising doubts about Cook’s position as manager.
The Blues boss has made it clear he feels any criticism from supporters should be aimed in his direction and not at his squad.
Doyle feels the idea of continual change is one of the game’s ills.
He said: ‘It’s too easy in football for people to look at managers all the time.
‘One of the big problems in football is chopping and changing all the time. How is a club supposed to get any continuity?
‘As long as you feel you’ve got the right man in charge you should stick by him.
‘I’ve been in football a long time and I’ve seen good people get burnt like that, and it’s not really fair.’
Doyle was at pains to stress to fans he feels Pompey have what it takes to get out of League Two – but he acknowledged supporters need to see evidence of that.
Doyle added: ‘In football, everyone wants to have their say and that’s what football is all about. It’s opinions.
‘But it’s his team at the end of the day and I feel we’re on the right track.
‘I just think, as players, we need to step up now and get a win.
‘We all want to play well and win, but, as early as it is in the season, it’s important just to win.
‘We know that we owe the supporters a performance after Tuesday.
‘We’ve done the racking up 25 shots in games, but I think I’d just take the three points in this one.’