Cook: Shock tactics are evidence of Pompey flexibility

Paul Cook dismissed suggestions Pompey are set in their ways '“ after starting with three up front in their 0-0 draw at Yeovil last night.

Saturday, 31st December 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 4:09 am
Michael Smith competes for a high ball with Yeovil Town keeper Artur Krysiak. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues boss named the same starting line-up from the Boxing Day 3-2 win at Newport County – but elected to make a surprising switch to his side’s formation.

Having abandoned his preferred 4-2-3-1 system last time out in favour of partnering strikers Michael Smith and Noel Hunt, Cook last night added one more to his front line with Kal Naismith completing the Blues’ new-look attacking trio.

It almost paid immediate dividends with Smith going close from a Naismith assist early on as Pompey asserted their superiority in the fog at Huish Park.

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But after defender Matt Clarke also headed wide from close range, the Blues’ attacking threat faded – even if the fog stuck around.

Cook said: ‘We went with three up top. Our fans asked for two, so I gave them three!

‘We wanted to play for half an hour with three lads at the top of the pitch – we thought we would take Yeovil by surprise.

‘We wanted to force the game and put a lot of good balls in good areas.

‘In the game, we had some good chances in the first half – but we have to score in those spells.’

Cook insisted he is happy to keep tinkering with his system in the pursuit of victory.

He said: ‘Every game we will prepare and try to break down teams to win rather than just say we are a 4-2-3-1 team.

‘We will tinker with formations in the pursuit of winning. Not a chance do we play for a point.

‘We started with Naismith, Hunt and Smith up front!

‘There is no agenda about us trying to come for a point.’

Cook also paid tribute to the travelling Pompey fans, with 2,084 making the trek to Somerset to form part of a 6,306-strong crowd – a season high for Yeovil.

And he pledged his side are doing all they can to realise their promotion ambitions, even if some supporters were unable to see that for themselves last night.

He added: ‘Unfortunately, last night we couldn’t win but massive pat on the back to the fans.

‘To travel in their numbers on a Friday night – the lads know what they want.

‘We looked quite solid, although the game probably petered out.

‘It couldn’t have been a good spectacle for our fans because I don’t think they could see the game!

‘We are a little bit disappointed we couldn’t get a goal in front of them in the second half.

‘We know how much it (promotion) means to them and we are going to do everything we can to deliver come the end of the season.’