Cook's warning for Pompey fans after Mansfield boos
Paul Cook refused to criticise the Pompey boo-boys but warned Blues fans against turning Fratton Park into a ground in which their own side '˜fears to play'.
The hosts ran out emphatic 4-0 winners over nine-man Mansfield Town yesterday to move into fourth spot in the League Two table.
But Pompey’s inability to put the game beyond their visitors until the 84th minute – when Noel Hunt doubled their advantage – was a source of major frustration for many among the 16,393 crowd.
That spilled into sustained booing as the Blues’ patient probing football failed to satisfy the demands of a vocal home support.
But Cook pointed to Hunt’s goal – his first for the club – as vindication for sticking to his passing philosophy.
He added: ‘The crowd were getting agitated and there were moans and groans coming down, yet the ball ended up in the net with a fantastic goal.
‘Sometimes you have just got to be careful what you want and how you want our players to play – it can’t always be about winning.
‘We must have the confidence to play the game.
‘Players have got to feel comfortable playing at Fratton Park.
‘We can’t and I can’t turn Fratton Park into a place where lads fear to play.’
And Cook has called for togetherness as his side continue on their League Two promotion quest.
He added: ‘I don’t grasp the crowd reaction.
‘But for as anxious as our fans get, they only want success.
‘And I will never be critical of Pompey fans – never.
‘They turn up in their thousands and only want success.
‘But we are where we are – and nobody is getting promoted in November.
‘We have to make sure we all stick together.’
– JEFF MARSHMAN