Enda Stevens: Pompey players deserved post-match rant

Enda Stevens. Picture: Joe Pepler
Enda Stevens. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Neil Marshall

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PAUL COOK was right to round on Pompey’s players following their 2-0 win at Woking last night.

That’s the view of defender Enda Stevens after the Blues’ boss delivered a dressing-room dressing down.

He has told us off and rightly so.

Enda Stevens

Cook was unhappy with the way his side failed to carry the momentum from an impressive first-half display into the second period of their pre-season friendly at the Kingfield Stadium.

The visitors led their National League opponents 2-0 at the break through goals from triallists Gareth Evans and Matt Clarke.

But a second-half display that failed to reach the heights of the first left Cook far from pleased with the Blues’ evening’s work.

And Stevens insisted he was right to let the players know it.

The 25-year-old said: ‘He has told us off and rightly so.

‘He just pointed out we can’t sit off teams the way we did.

‘We have to start the second half the way we ended the first.

‘We have to get on top of teams and stay on top.

‘In the first half I thought we started off slowly but gained our way into the game and got on top.

‘In the second half we never got going really.

‘There were a few breakaways but we never really controlled the tempo of the game or kept the ball well enough.’

Pompey travel to League One Gillingham next Saturday looking to extend their unbeaten pre-season record under Cook to six matches.

And Stevens, who played the full 90 minutes of last night’s victory, has backed the Blues to iron out the kinks spotted by the new boss on the training ground in time for their trip to the Priestfield Stadium.

The left-back, who arrived at Fratton Park last month following his release from Aston Villa, also believes the players are now starting to understand their roles and responsibilities as the season’s opening game with Dagenham & Redbridge approaches.

Stevens said: ‘That’s the nature of pre-season. We have the time now to go and fix that.

‘We will fix it on the training pitch leading into Gillingham and hopefully we will play even better.

‘We are understanding his philosophy of football.

‘Everybody knows their roles and I feel attacking-wise when we are good we are really good – it is just trying to rectify the bad spells, keeping clean sheets and minimising goals.’

A feature of Cook’s Pompey team is that full-backs are given the freedom to provide an additional attacking outlet down the flanks.

And that is a task the former Republic of Ireland under-21 international insists he is more than happy to undertake for the Blues,

Stevens said: ‘I am happy enough to do it, as the gaffer says don’t go forward if you can’t get back.

‘I am still a defender at first but at every opportunity I can I will try and get forward to help the lads and the team,

‘We play narrow so full-backs are your width.’