Jackett: Extra protection needed by defence

KENNY JACKETT feels Pompey's defence required more help after crumbling at Bristol Rovers.

Tuesday, 2nd January 2018, 11:00 am
'Danger man' Matty Kennedy Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues boss believes his back line needed their team’s attacking options to lighten the load on them after falling to a late 2-1 defeat at the Memorial Stadium.

Two goals in the final six minutes turned what looked like a victory into a loss as Liam Sercombe’s last-minute winner floored Pompey.

The visitors had defended admirably up to that point to repel Rovers, after taking the lead through Oli Hawkins’ 64th-minute header.

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Jackett refused to be too critical of his defensive players and felt his side failed to alleviate the pressure they were under by attacking.

He said: ‘We always look at the goals and where we need to improve.

‘But it has to be put in context and the big picture looked at.

‘The big picture is we’re hard-working, diligent and we want to be good defensively. That has to be the basis of what we do.

‘We have to be able to break at pace and be sure we’re a threat going the other way, too, though.

‘That helps your defenders as well.’

Jackett could see the Blues losing their way in the game as the Gas came on strong over the game’s finale.

He kept two players up front to try to combat the territorial pressure of Darrell Clarke’s side.

The introduction of Ellis Harrison and Liam Sercombe in the 74th minute proved a major factor in the game’s outcome, however.

Jackett added: ‘I felt after the goal we just couldn’t get on the ball.

‘It was one-way traffic after we went 1-0 up. Maybe that’s just the way it is.

‘That heart we’ve showed has kept us in games at times.

‘But it seemed like wave after wave for us to deal with and we just couldn’t get the ball into the two forwards.

‘We couldn’t get up the pitch to relieve the pressure and that led to them getting the goals which won it.

‘There was a lot of pressure to contend with. You hope you can keep defending but, ultimately, we couldn’t see it out. It was too much for us.’

Jackett felt Matty Kennedy was the man who provided the most danger going forward for his team.

He wasn’t sure Pompey made enough of the threat the Scottish winger offered, though.

‘Our outlet was Matty Kennedy. He played very well,’ said Jackett.

‘He was given a lot of support from Donohue. Did we get enough out of those situations? I’m not so sure.

‘Did we get enough balls into the box, across people and get strikes off? Probably not.

‘But he was our danger man in what was a tight game.

‘We’ve got the first goal but after that it was wave after wave of attacks.

‘We have to keep working away. We’re still in a good position in the league despite the disappointment of losing.’