Pompey signs delight Cook

Kyle Bennett scored as Pompey impressed against Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kyle Bennett scored as Pompey impressed against Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler
Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler

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PAUL COOK is adamant improving Pompey are revving up for a promotion assault.

The Blues were deprived of victory at league-leaders Plymouth on Saturday courtesy of Connor Smith’s last-gasp leveller.

As a team, we can’t allow the opposition to impose themselves on the game, we didn’t allow Plymouth to impose

Paul Cook

Substitute Danny Rose’s magnificent strike appeared to have steered Cook’s men towards a 2-1 triumph before that late intervention.

Nonetheless, it was another encouraging Pompey display on their travels following the previous weekend’s win at Leyton Orient.

The point meant they slipped to fifth in League Two.

Yet Cook is convinced his side are demonstrating vital new inner strength.

He said: ‘We were the better team on the pitch, make no bones about that, and I think the signs are good.

‘Signs don’t lie, good or bad, that’s the reality of it. We are showing goods signs at the minute – long may it continue.

‘I am not going to sit here and say everything’s great, I am not that type of manager, but for the last two games we have looked a good side.

‘It is about hard work, desire and work ethic and that is what we will keep doing until the end of the season.

‘We just look a threat, look like we have an appetite to work, and I was really pleased with the lads.

‘As a team, we can’t allow the opposition to impose themselves on the game, we didn’t allow Plymouth to impose.

‘No matter what Plymouth did to get a foothold in the game and they did have good spells, in the first half they put us under pressure, we restricted them to set-pieces and balls into the box.

‘We felt, especially in the second half, there was a spell when we took control of the game and looked like getting the next goal.

‘Plymouth knew they had been in a game, Derek is a fantastic manager, he has done an amazing job there, but they will feel very delighted with a point – and that is great credit to us.’

Yann Songo’o’s 20th-minute opener was cancelled out by Kyle Bennett’s first goal of the season.

Graham Carey also struck the bar in the second half, yet Pompey were largely the dominant side to keep the Home Park fans quiet.

And Cook believes his side are benefitting from improvements in the Blues’ set-up.

He added: ‘No-one can say what outcomes will be, it used to be if you get 60 per cent possession you win, but it doesn’t mean that any more, now teams will sit off you and counter attack, football is a weird game.

‘We are at it at the moment, though, and it’s through training and our habits in training. We are training that little bit harder believe it or not, the lads are doing more sessions with physicality.

‘When you look at the balance of play in the second half, the number of Plymouth’s attempts on goal compared to ours, the stats speak for themselves.’