Awford pleased with players’ tactical awareness

Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler
Brandon Haunstrup. Picture: Joe Pepler

Gaffer: Bad feeling as Pompey head to Fleetwood

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Andy Awford declared himself satisfied with his Pompey tactics, regardless of their Capital One Cup exit.

The Blues put up a gutsy display at the Britannia Stadium last night but slipped to a 3-0 defeat.

It was a deserved result for an impressive Stoke, who would have recorded a greater scoreline but for the excellence of Paul Jones.

Awford elected to make eight changes to the side which won at Oxford, while introducing a 4-1-4-1 system for the first time this 

And he was pleased with how his team acted upon his match instructions.

He said: ‘What pleased me was the shape was good, having asked them to play a specific way and frustrate Stoke.

‘If we’d have gone gung-ho I think we would have been picked off.

‘But Stoke are a Premier League outfit. You don’t see too many League Two teams going to hit clubs like that away from home.

‘You leave yourself exposed so the game plan was to be tight and be compact and try to frustrate them.

‘It would have been easy to crumble after goal one and they didn’t.

‘Yes Jonesie has made a couple of good saves but the defenders and midfield players have given good protection, they stuck to what we tried to do.

‘It was 4-1-4-1 with Johnny (Ertl) sat in front. I thought Crouchie would start so asked Johnny to play in front of the back four and stop the supply going into him, which in the main he did.

‘Obviously as the game wore on it became more open – if you are going to lose you would rather lose 6-0 than two or three.

‘We had a couple of chances late on. Jed had a good chance and there were a couple of things that went into the box that if we had a bit more quality in the final third, maybe we could have hurt them a bit more.’

Meanwhile, Pompey are today hoping to discover the full extent of Jack Whatmough’s injury.

The defender limped out of last night’s match with an injury to his left ankle and left the ground on crutches.