Macca targets missing Pompey ingredient

Ryan Taylor in action against Tranmere. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ryan Taylor in action against Tranmere. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Alan McLoughlin has pinpointed the missing ingredient Pompey require to banish their away-day woes.

Intensity.

The Blues have lost their last five matches on their travels, the latest agony occurring at Prenton Park on Saturday.

The 3-1 loss to League Two strugglers Tranmere followed a hugely-encouraging 3-0 victory over Morecambe the previous weekend.

It’s an inconsistency which is devastating any Pompey aspirations of making the play-offs.

The inquest continues into solving the problems on the road and the Blues’ joint first-team coach believes there is a problem with tempo.

McLoughlin said: ‘You think you’ve reached a plateau and they will push on – but they frustrate us.

‘The opening 45 minutes at Tranmere wasn’t good enough in my view.

‘We didn’t get up the pitch well enough and although Ryan Taylor was excellent, others weren’t so decent on the day.

‘We played better after a bit of a refocus at half-time but we certainly were expecting better things in the first half, particularly against a side who had struggled recently.

‘Overall, in the context of the game, I wasn’t happy with the first half and didn’t think the intensity was there that we produce at Fratton Park.

‘The work ethic is the main thing. There is a noticeably higher work ethic at home than there is away from home and it’s not intentional, it’s the way it is.

‘Most teams are poorer away from home than they are at home, so we need to find a solution – and we will find a solution.

‘It is simple, you have got to keep grafting away and – of the players on Saturday – I thought Marcus Bean and Danny Hollands were excellent in midfield but there weren’t enough who had good first halves and unfortunately if you don’t manage that you give the opposition team a lift.

‘We need to find a way to produce the intensity we have at home when we go away.’

Pompey currently occupy 12th spot, five points from the League Two play-offs.

Last season the late resurgence under Awford took them into 13th, although had it not been for a last-gasp equaliser for Plymouth Argyle they would have finished ninth.

With an outstanding record at Fratton Park this term, the away results are hampering progress.

But McLoughlin is refusing to panic.

He added: ‘It’s a long season. Remember we weren’t far from the play-offs after Andy took over in March and nearly squeezed there.

‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and people have got to understand we are as frustrated as the fans and need to find a solution.

‘We have tried everything now, we cannot physically berate the players before we go out, that would be nonsensical.

‘At Tranmere they played better in the second half with no change of formations or tactics, the same thing but just a different focus.

‘Overall you just have to keep working at it.’