Richardson: Grinners were winners

Ben Close in action against Derby County last night. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Close in action against Derby County last night. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey’s players were instructed to play without fear and enjoy themselves.

They responded by dumping Championship side Derby County out of the Capital One Cup.

We were up against some good players in a structure the manager put forward over the last couple of days and he told the players they would certainly enjoy it off the back of that

Leam Richardson

Paul Cook’s much-changed team inflicted one of the shocks of the round by last night defeating the Rams at a buoyant Fratton Park.

Adam McGurk’s debut goal was cancelled out by Jason Shackell’s header in the 74th minute of the televised clash.

Yet substitute Conor Chaplin popped up two minutes later to grab the winner as he recorded his maiden goal at Fratton Park.

It was a victory Leam Richardson is adamant was thoroughly deserved during an impressive display from the hosts.

And he put it down to the players’ approach to taking on Paul Clement’s side.

Pompey’s assistant manager said: ‘I thought it was a good performance and very pleasing when you are playing against Derby County, who are full of quality throughout the club.

‘Once you breed fear it goes through the club so it’s important, especially for some lads that came on to the pitch, to go out there with positivity.

‘We certainly had nothing to lose so the message was “go and enjoy the game” and the one thing that can be a given is you can work as hard as you possibly can. I think individually and collectively we did that.

‘We were up against some good players in a structure the manager put forward over the last couple of days and he told the players they would certainly enjoy it off the back of that.

‘The more touches you get, the more positive touches you get, even the more positive mistakes you make – you enjoy a game like that.

‘I thought the lads deserve full credit in what they do and it was a fully-deserved victory. Without disrespecting Derby County, our lads – with the work ethic and application they put forward – deserved a positive result.’

A crowd of 11,573 – including 1,134 away supporters – were present at Fratton Park for last night’s game.

They helped generate a special atmosphere throughout, with ‘Paul Cook’s Blue & White Army’ still ringing out five minutes after the full-time whistle.

And Richardson savoured the occasion.

He added: ‘I thought it was fantastic.

‘I did recognise the loudest they became was when Derby scored, which was puzzling initially but people keep telling me these Portsmouth fans are unique! I can’t compliment them enough so far in my time here.

‘They took the roof off when we scored and saw the lads home.

‘Derby brought on international players worth millions of pounds and started dictating a little bit of possession but we came through.’