Pompey: Baker approves of Cook’s recipe for success

Carl Baker. Picture: Joe Pepler

Carl Baker. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Teams will be hard-pressed to match Pompey’s fitness levels this season.

That’s the view of Blues attacking midfielder Carl Baker, who feels the squad are benefitting from an increased intensity on the training ground.

Paul Cook’s side have favoured an energy-sapping high-press this term, with the boss demanding a work-rate to match the undoubted talent levels of the squad.

And Baker feels the League Two promotion chasers have a recipe for success in Cook’s methods.

He said: ‘The intenstity of training has been a joke and hopefully it’s a good sign for us.

‘There are games we have played, certainly at home, where we press so high and hard teams haven’t been able to live with us.

‘I think, no matter who we play, with the players we have got in this team, if we get the work-rate, the press and the intensity right we should be winning games.

‘It’s as simple as that.

‘The games we haven’t pressed as high or as hard – like Doncaster – we haven’t won.

‘It’s not difficult to see what we need to do to win games.

‘But it is difficult to do it!

‘If it was easy, every team would be pressing hard. It is a difficult thing to do and you need to be at your top fitness levels for the entire 90 minutes.

‘You see a lot of teams trying to do it for 50 or 60 minutes and then they end up conceding goals in the last half an hour because they put so much into it.’

For Baker, the key to the Blues’ ability to stay on top of their opponents for the entirety of a game comes from being put through their paces during the week.

‘We have been working so hard here, the fitness sessions we have been doing have been tough,’ added Baker.

‘In the last couple of weeks we have been doing what I would class as pre-season sessions.

‘But that is all for our fitness and intensity levels, so we feel like we go into games now, with the training we have been doing, fitter than a lot of the teams we come up against.

‘Hopefully that will then hold us in good stead to be able to keep that press high for the 90 minutes.’

Baker, though, conceded there are times when to and when not to press.

He added: ‘It is getting the balance right – we need to know when to press and when not to press.

‘If you are fit enough and you want to press, then you can press.

‘But I’ve noticed a lot of teams at this level try to do it but run out of steam and end up getting picked off.

‘We don’t want that to happen to ourselves.

‘So we need to keep our fitness levels at max to be able to pull it off.

‘If we win games in the last half an hour when teams are tired from the way we have played then so be it.

‘It is enjoyable when you are working hard and seeing you are getting the result – you don’t mind doing it!’

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