Appleton stamping his footballing brand on Pompey

Pompey boss Michael Appleton
Pompey boss Michael Appleton
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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The transformation is gathering pace.

Now Michael Appleton believes Pompey fans are beginning to clearly see his footballing vision.

The Blues boss is striving to instil a different style of play into the side he inherited from Steve Cotterill.

Appleton has made no secret of his desire to give fans a more attacking and attractive team to follow.

The result was their best display under him at Burnley at the weekend.

Although still short on goal-scoring opportunities, Pompey produced some impressive free-flowing football at times.

They certainly troubled an in-form Clarets side seeking a fourth successive Championship win.

For Appleton, it was important progress as he attempts to implement his own brand of football.

And with seven points from their last three matches, he remains encouraged by the momentum.

He said: ‘The first game (Watford) I was terribly disappointed. It was football but not as I know it, that’s the best way I can describe it.

‘I don’t want to be associated with what I saw in that opening game.

‘I think the last three games is getting close to what I’m looking for.

‘I have just asked the players to show a little bit more belief, especially when we were counter-attacking.

‘We look an absolute million miles from what happened on that day against Watford three or four weeks ago.

‘All of a sudden we look like a side who can enjoy our football and can play some attractive football.

‘I think we are seeing glimpses of it, although it’s still a long way from where I want it to get. I am hoping people can see what I am trying to do because I am working ever so hard with Guy and Stuart and the rest of the staff on the training field to implement certain things into their play.

‘I encourage them all the time to have a little bit of belief and trust each other in possession of the ball because there are some good players.

‘And I was delighted with them against Burnley.’

It has been just over four weeks since Appleton walked into Fratton Park.

Worrying developments off the field have largely taken the focus away from what he is trying to achieve.

But since that Watford debacle there has been steady progress in playing terms.

The rejuvenation of David Norris and Joel Ward has caught the eye, while loan signings George Thorne and Joe Mattock have made an impact.

Of course, next up is Southampton, a match which could establish Appleton in Pompey folklore.

Yet he continues to work hard on the training pitch on a footballing philosophy he believes can yield success.

He added: ‘I want my team to be a little bit more organised and compact, especially out of possession.

‘I think in the past we’ve still had players who can score goals.

‘But I want us to continue to be free-flowing when we’ve got possession of the ball.

‘And probably have a few more passes in our play like we have done over the last couple of weeks.

‘As soon as we lose possession of the ball I think it is important to get into their heads straightaway they need to be a little bit more compact.

‘The more compact and better shape you have then, if there is an opportunity, you can go and counter.

‘You can play quickly rather than it just being a little bit of a fight ball.’