Pompey 0 Newport County 3: Cook admits he lost his head

Paul Cook saw his Pompey side struggle on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook saw his Pompey side struggle on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler
Luke McGee in action against Southend. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Paul Cook admitted he lost his head as he watched Pompey throw away the chance of firing up their promotion ambitions.

The Blues boss was driven to distraction by his side’s listless performance as they crashed to a desperate 3-0 loss to Newport County.

Cook’s side were devoid of the energy which permeated their victory at promotion-chasing Accrington Stanley last week.

Pompey’s passing lacked the same vim seen at the Crown Ground with backwards and sideways options taken too often.

Cook admitted that made him despair as he looked on.

He said: ‘My head had gone watching it.

‘We never started with any sort of intent.

‘If you look at their keeper’s saves in the first half, there were none apart from McNulty late on.

‘There’s no ethic and no pressure. We didn’t have them camped in.

‘We’re not putting them under pressure to say we are going to keep knocking on the door and come in.

‘You don’t offer what we offered at Accrington, Bristol Rovers and Cambridge all with great work ethic, and then go to how we played against Newport.’

Cook afforded praise for the manner in which Newport approached the game.

While many have been limited in their ambitions at Fratton Park, Exiles boss Warren Feeney played with two strikers and created chances.

Cook was frustrated, however, his team fell into the traps set by their opponents.

He felt Pompey didn’t make enough of the space on the flanks – and instead tried to play through congested central areas.

That suited the way Feeney had set up his side and gave Newport the ascendancy.

Cook said: ‘We played a team who vacated the middle of the pitch on Tuesday at Accrington.

‘They allowed us to play in those areas.

‘Newport took us on but didn’t vacate the middle of the pitch against us.

‘They deserve credit because they were the better team and didn’t park the bus here.

‘They gave us up in wide areas, but we didn’t move the ball wide.

‘They were playing a nice, narrow diamond with Tommy O’Sullivan in the hole to stop us.

‘All we kept doing was funnelling through the middle into their strength.

‘That enabled them to counter-attack and break.

‘We could have gone back to the old wingers who hug the touchline.

‘We need to get a bit of width, get the ball out to them and get crosses into the box.’

– JORDAN CROSS