Paul Cook: Pompey aren’t firing

Pompey boss Paul Cook takes his seat in the stands at Exeter on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook takes his seat in the stands at Exeter on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Paul Cook admitted Pompey are a long way short of firing on all cylinders.

The Blues boss feels there is a lot of progress which needs making in terms of the quality of his team’s performances.

Cook’s side go to Yeovil tonight in the Checkatrade Trophy looking for their third win on the bounce.

They did that on four occasions last season – but it took them until March to string three league successes together.

Cook is taking solace from the fact Pompey have put back-to-back victories together.

But he can see his team are not producing the kind of quality he demands.

Cook said: ‘The balance of the first team is not right at minute. It’s not right. I don’t care what anyone says.

‘I don’t watch us and think wow we look good. There were times last season when I did.

‘I haven’t done that yet but if we win on Saturday we’ll be right up there.

‘We’ll be in a good position with a win over Crawley but we haven’t fired this year yet.

‘I don’t like the way we’re playing.

‘I don’t like us at the minute. I look at us and think no.’

Pompey are four points off leaders Morecambe after five league games.

They can narrow that gap with victory over Crawley at Fratton Park on Saturday.

Cook noted that would ensure a very different mood will surround the club from a couple of weeks ago.

He said: ‘Our campaign is weird. If we get two results now it would probably be our best start in years.

‘That’s off the back at that disappointment at Morecambe.

‘It’s a huge game Saturday because we can get that buffer on our side.

‘That can give us the confidence of having three league wins on the bounce.

‘We nearly contrived to get beat on Saturday.

‘But I thought our performance against Carlisle was excellent.

‘Then we went and drew at Crewe and there was so much doom and gloom about.

‘We know we have to put teams under more pressure.

‘The amount of negative passes we have can allow teams to get comfortable.’

Cook believes a look back to last season shows what is needed for Pompey to build on their recent successes.

He feels striking early in matches was the recurring theme to the Blues’ best home results.

Cook said: ‘There are key points in games when you have to score.

‘We had some great wins at home last season and they all came off the back of us scoring early in the game.

‘When we don’t score early in the game the games quickly become hard work.

‘We can be sloppy and can refuse to be positive.

‘I don’t know if there is a Portsmouth negativity.

‘We have to be better as a club.

‘We are a big challenge for sides.

‘Our lads don’t get that bit of breathing space.’

– JORDAN CROSS