MICHAEL DOYLE is demanding Pompey find a way to win ugly.
The Blues captain is calling on his team to begin showing the nous he feels they’ve been short of as they go to Plymouth.
Doyle has voiced a concern Paul Cook’s side lack the ability to eke out results when they’re not at their best.
The 35-year-old was delighted to be part of a hard-working 1-0 success at Leyton Orient last weekend.
Now Cook’s men face a testing challenge today at Home Park, as they face the league leaders on their own turf.
Doyle feels there are few sides who can live with Pompey’s intensity and free-flowing football when they are in the groove.
But the former Sheffield United man has noticed a slackness in game management when things stall for his side.
The challenge from the Irishman is to deliver success when Pompey are not at their best – something they’ve failed to do in the past.
‘You can tell when we’re at it,’ said Doyle.
‘That’s the way we are as a team. It’s something I’ve felt here.
‘You get a feel early in games that we’re at it today. When we’re like that the majority of times we come out on top.
‘But when we go away from home and don’t play well we need to think let’s grind it out.
‘I don’t think we’re very good at doing that.
‘When it’s not going our way we take ourselves out of the game a little bit.
‘We’ve got to get into the habit of thinking it’s what we’ve got to do to get a result.
‘It’s game management. The players can rock a bit and get sucked into it.
‘Against Orient we did what we needed to get a result. I don’t think it was a brilliant performance against them.
‘I thought we played well but can play a lot better.
‘But the spirit was there and the character, so you felt comfortable the whole game.
‘We owed a few people that result. The fans, the manager and all the people putting the hard work in.
‘We’ve had a few disappointments, so it was nice to show that bit of emotion and what it means to everybody.’
Doyle admitted the Blues are still looking to correct the deficiencies which cost them last season.
He sees consistency being a key factor on that front along with delivering when the heat is on.
‘There’s a lot of pressure on us,’ added Doyle.
‘Last year, when we needed to win, we lost a couple.
‘The one thing about the players here is they will always respond and give you a performance.
‘That’s certainly within us. Now we need a performance against Plymouth.
‘No doubt, we have the quality to be up there, but if you don’t have the consistency you‘re not going to be.
‘At the minute we’re not quite there with that.’