Cook: Worst 45 minutes of my Pompey tenure

BOSS Paul Cook labelled Pompey's first-half display against Wycombe as the worst of his tenure.

Monday, 7th November 2016, 6:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:59 pm
Pompey suffered a painful FA Cup defeat Wycombe on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues manager was furious over the manner of their abysmal FA Cup exit.

Cook’s men were dumped out of the competition they won in 2008 by Gareth Ainsworth’s men in a 2-1 defeat.

Striker Adebayo Akinfenwa grabbed the winner six minutes from time to mark a third successive Fratton Park loss.

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Although Pompey’s focus remains fixed on League Two promotion, the demeanour during Saturday’s result was alarming.

In particular the lacklustre and lifeless opening 45 minutes in which the visitors’ Paris Cowan-Hall opened the scoring.

Cook held a post-match inquest with his side following the final whistle.

And he was furious with the Blues’ display.

He said: ‘That was probably as bad as we have been.

‘Since I have been at this club it was our worst 45 minutes, without a shadow of a doubt.

‘I don’t think we created a chance, I don’t think we worked the opposition, but it’s the easiest thing for me to criticise the team and criticise the players and I never will, I don’t work like that.

‘If you ever set standards as a team – well we were far below any standard we have ever set.

‘I felt Wycombe were full value for the result and we wish them well in the next round.

‘Inconsistency, that’s us, that is the reality of this team.

‘Can you put your finger on the reason for that first half? We can – but I am certainly not going to go public in what I think.’

A vastly improved second-half display saw Gareth Evans turn home Enda Stevens’ cross in the 47th minute.

Yet the hosts failed to build on that bright start to the half, struggling to create other goal-scoring opportunities.

What followed was another defeat to join those against Doncaster Rovers and Notts County on home turf in recent weeks.

It prompted a delay in Cook carrying out his press duties afterwards, an unusual occurrence.

Instead lengthy discussions were held in the confines of the Fratton dressing room as the reasons for the outcome were poured over.

Cook wouldn’t go into details over the talk, but he was visibly still fuming when analysing the performance with the media.

He added: ‘We have had a meeting, you can only tell people what you exactly think.

‘The manager trusts players, the team reflects the manager and on Saturday night we were not a very good team and I was not a very good manager, that’s for sure.

‘I’m not saying what happened at half-time, the reality is my team were very poor and you get on with it.

‘We couldn’t be any worse during that second half.’