Paul Cook's Pompey belief after Orient mess

Paul Cook reaffirmed his conviction in Pompey's players after they failed against Leyton Orient.

Pompey players can't hide their disappointment at the final whistle. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey players can't hide their disappointment at the final whistle. Picture: Joe Pepler

Cook’s men slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Orient in a performance devoid of positives on Saturday.

It was bleak viewing for the Fratton faithful, with boos on the final whistle as Pompey failed to find the cohesion and threat they are capable of delivering.

And the League Two table now looks similarly unpalatable with the Blues in seventh place – and Accrington Stanley holding two games in hand in eighth.

The match was a missed opportunity, with many of Pompey’s promotion rivals seeing their fixtures called off.

Cook cut a deflated figure after the game and insisted he understood the frustration by the home supporters.

He underlined his faith in the quality of his players, however, and was adamant any criticism should be aimed at him

Cook said: ‘We were second best, make no bones about it. There were no positives.

‘We had plaudits last week but less this time – and quite right.

‘The boos were frustration from supporters and I have no problems with that.

‘It’s been a long, tough month for Pompey fans.

‘They want us to deliver. They are desperate for us to deliver. Unfortunately we couldn’t do that.

‘Last Saturday we left with the plaudits. This weekend we leave flat.

‘My job as manager is to pick everyone up.

‘I have great belief in those players in the dressing room.

‘We never played well and there are no excuses offered up. The reality is we are massively disappointed.

‘I honestly thought we’d get a reaction after Tuesday, it never happened. We never got going.

‘I have to take the criticism and it should be aimed in my direction. But there’s a long way to go yet.

‘People don’t want to be in this league.

‘There’s a natural reaction to being in this league.

‘We’ve got to maintain our character as we try to get out of it.’

The intensifying pressure could be felt with the disappointment of the performance compounded by both Orient and Mansfield leapfrogging Pompey in the table.

Cook vowed he will provide a steady hand at the tiller.

He said: ‘Is it time for cool heads? That’s why I’m manager.

‘That’s why I’m a manager. I’ve been in these positions and sanity must prevail.

‘The one thing our players must feel is calmness.

‘What clubs have – and ours has – is an ability to put everyone under pressure.

‘The pressure has been there since the start of the season and it will remain there until the end.

‘Fortunately, though, this isn’t the last game of the season. This season certainly isn’t over.’