Doyle: Pompey players deserve flak - not boss

Pompey skipper Michael Doyle    Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey skipper Michael Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Smith has not been included in this year's team photo

Striker omitted from Pompey team photo

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Michael Doyle demanded Pompey’s players take responsibility for their stalling form.

And the Blues captain insisted it’s not Paul Cook who should be receiving flak after the 2-1 loss to Doncaster.

Pompey gave up their unbeaten home record on Saturday as they fell to their second loss on the bounce.

That’s put the brakes on an encouraging run which saw Cook’s side win five out of six in the league.

It’s perplexing form but Doyle is insistent criticism should not arrive at his manager’s door.

The 35-year-old feels the players should not let Cook face any frustrations from fans.

Doyle said: ‘The only thing I can say as a player is this club has a fantastic manager. They really do.

‘His biggest weakness is he cares too much. He’s too passionate and too loyal.

‘Us as players should be the ones taking the brunt of it.

‘He has to face people all the time and answer questions.

‘He isn’t the issue.

‘The biggest frustration for him right now is he can’t understand why we as players go and play like we have in the past two games.

‘Seven days ago everyone is saying on TV how good we are and this and that. It can’t happen.

‘We as players have to sort it out quickly and get some consistency in our games.

‘That’s from me to everyone else. We have to get that consistency as a team and individually.’

A slow start proved costly for Pompey against Darren Ferguson’s side on Saturday.

Former Blues loanee, John Marquis, sent his team on the way to victory after seven minutes, with Andy Williams doubling the advantage 11 minutes before the break.

They were two more preventable goals following on from the poor efforts conceded in the 3-1 loss at Blackpool.

Doyle denied there’s a problem with Pompey’s character but is detecting sloppiness and naivety in his team’s play.

He said: ‘You have to find a way in football sometimes. For 20 minutes we looked off it.

‘We didn’t look as if we knew what to do. You have to find a way sometimes.

‘At the minute, we seem to wonder what’s going on – and then we’re 2-0 down.

‘We’ve got to grow up. We’ve got to grow up as players.

‘It’s not a crisis but at clubs like this it starts feeling like that when you lose.

‘A lot of people question footballers – but we’re feeling it. My weekend is ruined like everyone’s. All you think of is the game and how it went wrong.

‘I don’t think it was a case of being roughed up.

‘I don’t think it’s even character. We’ve got a sloppiness and naiveness about us.

‘We’ve got to liven up, otherwise two defeats will turn into three. You don’t want that.

‘There’s only 11 people who can fix it, and we need to fix it quickly.’