Pompey attention turns to promotion after Cup exit

Gary Roberts celebrates his goal Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts celebrates his goal Picture: Joe Pepler
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Leam Richardson admitted his FA Cup disappointment after Pompey lost 2-1 to Bournemouth but insisted: The league is our priority.

The Blues threatened a famous fourth-round upset on Saturday when they led their Premier League south-coast neighbours 1-0 at the break thanks to Gary Roberts’ well-worked opener.

But the Cherries’ extra quality told late in the second period as they came from behind to break the League Two side’s hearts, courtesy of goals from Josh King and substitute Marc Pugh.

Richardson, though, was philosophical in defeat, with the focus now switching to the Blues’ quest for promotion.

He said: ‘The overwhelming feeling is one of disappointment because you want to win every game you take part in and Saturday was no different.

‘The FA Cup is special, it holds all sorts of financial revenue and dreams for players who want to play on the big stages – we are no different to that.

Being able to now concentrate on the league has got to be the positive in defeat. The league is our bread and butter – the FA Cup is a bonus

Pompey assistant manager Leam Richardson

‘And at half-time the feeling was we had worked hard enough to get our noses in front.

‘But when you are playing against Premier League opposition, you know you are going to get hurt at times.

‘You have to make sure you are consolidated out of possession and very productive in possession because if you keep giving the ball to them, they will hurt you.

‘That was the emphasis and what we tried to work on but fair credit to Bournemouth, they have got good players, they stuck at it and got the result.

‘Being able to now concentrate on the league has got to be the positive in defeat.

‘The league is our bread and butter – the FA Cup is a bonus.

‘Our main aim when we came in was to get promoted.

‘Yes, we are disappointed to be out of the competition but we hold our heads high with how we acquitted ourselves and how hard the lads worked.’

Another positive for Pompey was the manner of their goal, which came after an extended period of passing football.

But while the quality of the Blues’ play caught their Premier League opponents by surprise at times, for Richardson, the home side’s display only demonstrated what he sees regularly on the training ground.

He said: ‘We work with the players every day and it is a pleasure.

‘We try to instil good habits, not just in possession but out of possession and around the place in general.

‘And a goal like that kind of emphasises everything that you try to do – it’s a great goal from our point of view.’

With the focus now firmly on the league, Richardson has called on sixth-placed Pompey to replicate the performance levels shown against Bournemouth as they try to close the gap to the automatic promotion places with a win at Morecambe tomorrow (7.45pm).

He added: ‘We have a huge game tomorrow against Morecambe.

‘But if we show them the same respect we showed Bournemouth and a few teams prior to Saturday then we will give them a good game.

‘Fingers crossed we can get a good result.’