Guy: I’ll shoulder blame

Johnny Ertl is shown a straight red card following his challenge on Oxford United's Danny Rose in the second half of Saturday's League Two opener at Fratton Park Picture: Joe Pepler
Johnny Ertl is shown a straight red card following his challenge on Oxford United's Danny Rose in the second half of Saturday's League Two opener at Fratton Park Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey's Kal Naismith in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall.

WATCH: Pompey boss gives verdict on league result

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Guy Whittingham reflected on an opening day to forget against Oxford and promised: I’ll take the blame.

The Blues shot themselves in the foot on their big day at Fratton Park as they fell to a 4-1 defeat to the U’s.

Poor defending ruined a positive opening as Whittingham’s men gave away avoidable goals.

The game swung on Johnny Ertl’s second-half dismissal, however – 12 minutes after the restart following a challenge on Oxford midfielder Danny Rose.

Whittingham was positive in his response to that incident and went for the jugular with a forward-thinking formation and substitutions.

Yet the visitors exposed the extra space at the back and bagged a further two goals as Pompey chased the game.

Whittingham made no bones about the poor defensive work and its impact on the game.

But he felt he should shoulder responsibility for his decision to push for a result.

‘We shot ourselves in the foot conceding goals we should have stopped at source,’ said Whittingham.

‘The red card was key, though.

‘After that we didn’t want to go 4-4-1 and keep it tight. We wanted to go for it.

‘I know people might criticise that but we wanted to get back into the game as quickly as possible

‘I felt we had the players to do that on the bench and put them on.

‘It didn’t work out but I will take that one on the chin.

‘We made some sloppy errors and I made an error by going for it and being positive with 35 minutes left.

‘I don’t regret that. You may look at it after the game and think whether we should have stayed 4-4-1 and make sure we didn’t concede.

‘Maybe we could have forced things later on but I felt we could get back into the game. It’s very rare you miss out on something through goal difference.

‘Yes, it could do your pride a bit of damage – but I think we’re good enough to get on with it.’

Whittingham admitted it hurt not giving a capacity Fratton Park crowd the result they wanted after 18,181 fans filled the stadium.

But he took solace from the way Pompey performed in the first half and the quality of their attacking play.

He said: ‘It’s disappointing because the fans have been with us for a long, long time. We wanted to start a league campaign in the best way possible, so it’s disappointing not to give them the result they wanted.

‘We started fantastically with the backing of the fans and they kept backing the players until the end of the game.

‘We’re trying to achieve things and the fans want to see some decent football down here.

‘We want to give them that through the season – but we want the results as well.’

The manager also felt the 4-1 scoreline didn’t reflect the action but did underline Pompey are a work in progress.

‘I don’t think we looked like a team who were thrashed 4-1,’ added Whittingham.

‘We looked like a team building.

‘The expectations are from people out of Portsmouth. The real Portsmouth people know where we are.

‘We have 11 new players, you won’t be successful straightaway. It takes time.

‘Anybody in football will tell you that.

‘But we are where we are. We’re a new team rebuilding – and that will take time.’