Resilient Blues forced to hang in there

Steve Cotterill masterminds Pompey's latest victory
Steve Cotterill masterminds Pompey's latest victory
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss points to lack of cutting edge

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POMPEY boss Steve Cotterill felt resilience was the key to success over Sheffield United.

The Blues equalled their post-war league record of clean sheets with a 1-0 win over the strugglers at Fratton Park on Saturday,

The Blades belied their lowly position with their performance though, and put the home side under pressure in the second-half.

Pompey stood firm however, to keep their charge towards the play-offs on track.

Cotterill believes the sturdiness of his team was the difference and fundamental to the win.

The Blues manager said: ‘They played well and gave us a very tough game.

‘After the goal we needed another one to dis-spirit them.

‘That didn’t come so we had to hang on in there.

‘We did that and managed to keep that clean sheet.

‘There were probably a lot of games that sides have won 1-0 this weekend, and it’s been scarier for them than it was for us.

‘I don’t remember Jamie Ashdown making loads of saves.

‘We knew they would come here and fight for their lives, and that’s how it worked out.

‘But we were strong and got the job done.’

Cotterill believes Pompey’s winning run is all the more remarkable given the problems the club has had to deal with this season.

He feels the manner in which the players grafted for each other has allowed a small squad to punch above their weight, though.

Cotterill said: ‘That was arguably David Cotterill’s quietest game in terms of quality.

‘But when you see his running stats in recent games that was going to happen.

‘What happens, though, is the other lads cover up for each other and keep on running.

‘It’s been a marvellous run especially with what’s happened at the club.

‘The ins and outs of what Portsmouth Football Club has been like this year may not be known nationally.

‘That’s unfortunate but it make this run even better.’

Cotterill believes the swathe of loan players at Pompey also deserve recognition for the manner in which they have performed.

There are currently six loanees at the club and the Blues manager knows they have been key.

Cotterill said: ‘Our loan players have gelled well with the players here.

‘They are half the team really.

‘They are a great bunch of lads.’