Whittingham delighted with defence

Guy Whittingham
Guy Whittingham
Pompey midfielder Ben Close Picture: Joe Pepler

Close is free from injury and full of Pompey ambition

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Guy Whittingham praised Pompey’s defensive display despite their Capital One Cup elimination.

The Blues last night lost 1-0 at Bournemouth and have now not reached the second round for the third year running.

Regardless, it was a much-improved performance from a back five, with two changes to the personnel, who were so poor against Oxford.

Keeper Phil Smith came in to replace John Sullivan and Bondz N’Gala was also granted a debut.

He played at centre-half, with Joe Devera switching to right-back in place of Yassin Moutaouakil.

The result was a far more sturdy rearguard action at Dean Court against the Championship outfit.

It was one which delighted a Blues boss who had been so critical of their showing 72 hours earlier.

He said: ‘What is good is when the ball came into the box I thought we defended it really well.

‘Bournemouth are going to get plenty of possession because of the way they play and how good their players are.

‘They are going to get plenty of balls into the box, we know that.

‘What I was really pleased with, though, was we defended that well, we got our head on things and got our blocks in.

‘Bondz N’Gala came in and did well. He was one of those who blocked and headed the ball which was important, especially the level we play out.

‘It was important to dig in. In games when you are 1-0 down you are still in the game, if you go 2-0 down then you are out of the game.

‘So it was important we kept them to that and tried to stay in as long as we could.’