Pompey full-back praises Rocha impact

No-nonsense Ricardo Rocha eyeballs John Mousinho. Picture: Allan Hutchings (124044-575)
No-nonsense Ricardo Rocha eyeballs John Mousinho. Picture: Allan Hutchings (124044-575)
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett’s Pompey attacking concern

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Mustapha Dumbuya saluted the Ricardo Rocha factor after Pompey picked up their first clean sheet in 11 matches.

The Blues drew 0-0 against Preston on Saturday in a match notable for a costly penalty miss by Izale McLeod.

It also produced a third clean sheet of the campaign, the most recent occurrence coming in a 2-0 home victory over Crewe on October 13.

At the heart of it was Rocha, in the third start of his third spell at Fratton Park.

The veteran defender was immaculate alongside Gabor Gyepes, looking comfortable and in control throughout against the Lilywhites.

For Dumbuya, the result was a win that got away as Pompey slipped back into the League One relegation zone.

But he was quick to sing the praises of his new team-mate who arrived last month.

He said: ‘We thought we should have won the game.

‘But then again, we kept a clean sheet so that’s a positive for the defence and we can push on from there.

‘The experience of Ricardo and Gabor is immense and it is always good to have those two beside me telling me what to do.

‘I played against him (Rocha) a few times.

‘He’s been at Tottenham as well, so you know what he is all about. He is a very experienced player.

‘Ricardo is no-nonsense. If he wants to kick it into the stands he will do that.

‘We need that sometimes to get everyone set again.

‘Sometimes we wanted to take the ball down and play it – but would then lose it in stupid areas and, of course, it’s a goal.

‘Now it is no-nonsense. He knows when to kick it out and he will.

‘He has done well, you can tell on the pitch.

‘He is talking in the changing room and giving experience to the young lads as well.

‘Ricardo is the calmest character I have ever met in my life. You have got to respect him.

‘He’s a top bloke, he doesn’t say much but when you look at him you have to respect him. He is so calm.

‘He has made a massive difference to us and if we can keep more clean sheets that will be a positive.’

McLeod’s 14th-minute penalty miss proved to be the key moment in the Fratton Park stalemate.

It was his second spot-kick miss of the campaign – and Pompey’s fourth overall.

The Blues are now winless in 10 matches and their third successive draw was not enough to prevent them dropping into the relegation places at the end of a disappointing week – on and off the field of play.

But the right-back was encouraged by the display from Whittingham’s men.

Dumbuya added: ‘By far we were the better side. We should have won but these things happen.

‘I thought everyone put a shift in on Saturday.

‘We have not played consistently that much this season.

‘We normally finish the game the stronger – but on Saturday we started well and finished well.

‘We can take that into the next game – Hartlepool away.

‘And we can definitely build on that clean sheet.’