Pompey boss: What has happened in eight days?

Pompey boss Paul Cook   Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Brett Pitman, left, and Kyle Bennett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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For Paul Cook, the contrast was alarming – and his side unrecognisable.

Saturday marked successive defeats for Pompey, having produced a 5-1 demolition act over Barnet eight days previously.

Don’t forget, eight days ago we put on one of the best performances this club has seen since coming out of administration. What have we done in those eight days? Been on a Stag Do? Have we?

Paul Cook

From the highs of that Fratton Park hammering to boos and a slip down to sixth in League Two, it has become a week to forget.

The Blues gifted Doncaster a 2-0 lead after 34 minutes, John Marquis and Andy Williams netting upon their visit.

Carl Baker reduced the deficit shortly before half-time. In the second-half he struck the bar, while Gary Roberts had a shot cleared off the line.

Regardless, it was a 2-1 defeat – and a first loss at Fratton Park this season.

Now Cook must uncover the reasons behind the unravelling.

He said: ‘The week before we thought, like everybody else who watched the Barnet game, “Here we go”.

‘Now we are on the flip side with the same players. Unfortunately we’ve had such a disappointing week and all of a sudden on the seat of our pants thinking “Let’s pick ourselves up quickly”.

‘We do everything we can for the lads, our lads prepare so professionally it is untrue, whatever we can do for them, and we shouldn’t start a game like that we did against Doncaster.

‘Don’t forget, eight days ago we put on one of the best performances this club has seen since coming out of administration. What have we done in those eight days? Been on a Stag Do? Have we?

‘We prepare, we travel, we do everything right, they are the same lads. As the manager you have the shoulder the blame and I’d like to think that is what I do.

‘We haven’t done anything different, we have prepared them in the same way.

‘Confidence in this game is huge, when a team gets a goal we’ve normally bounced back so quickly. On Saturday we got a goal at a great time, then we had to go and get back in the game.

‘When we won four successive games and looked strong, we were gradually growing, then had the disappointment of Accrington and then bounced back.

‘You can’t give any team a lead. Wycombe hit the bar when they were 1-0 up. There are patterns within us and my job is as manager is try to make sure we can break those cycles.

‘Saturday was the first real disappointment of our season – and how we manage disappointment is going to be key.’

A run of four successive victories has been followed by a period of three defeats in four to dent fan confidence.

Clearly plenty of work for Cook and his staff to address before next weekend’s trip to Leyton Orient.

He added: ‘Doncaster are a very good side, an excellent side, you would expect them to be up there this season.

‘Saturday was a bad day for us, make no bones about it, it is two league defeats on the run, four defeats in 11.

‘We lost 10 games last year, it’s not like us to lose games, we normally control it and look a bit boring and negative.

‘Now suddenly it is something we want to change quickly.’