Burgess lauds gritty Pompey response to doubters

Christian Burgess keeps a close eye on Cambridge striker Uche Ikpeazu Picture: Joe Pepler
Christian Burgess keeps a close eye on Cambridge striker Uche Ikpeazu Picture: Joe Pepler
Stuart O'Keefe in action against Bury. Picture: Joe Pepler

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CHRISTIAN Burgess celebrated the grit which underpinned Pompey’s steely return to winning ways.

The defender believes his side’s performance in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Cambridge was the perfect response to critics doubting the Blues’ resolve.

Pompey were reduced to 10 men after Amine Linganzi was sent off after 61 minutes.

Paul Cook’s men comfortably saw off the U’s’ push to find a leveller, however, with Burgess excellent in helping his side to a win.

Victory closes the gap on the top three to three points for the Blues, as they picked up their third league success on the road.

Burgess feels the win showed his side they can pick up victories without being at their free-flowing best.

He said: ‘We’ve lost games we didn’t deserve to lose and we conceded some goals which weren’t where we liked them to be.

‘In terms of conceding goals, we’ve let in four more than we did at the same stage last season.

‘It’s something we’ve highlighted and we are trying to really crack that and defend. I think we have shown that we can do that.

‘It’s fantastic when you keep clean sheets and when you win your fair share of headers.

‘That’s you bread and butter as a centre-half and that is what you want to do.

‘Maybe the conditions weren’t perfect, but we had to show that side of our game.

‘Conor Chaplin had one chance and came away with one goal.

‘It answers some critics.

‘Perhaps it shows that we don’t have to be as good as we are sometimes, and we can still get three points.

That’s football. It’s not an exact science.

‘We’ve just got to keep plugging away and building on performances like that and hopefully dominating games a bit more.’

Burgess delivered a man-of-the-match performance as Pompey kept their sixth clean sheet of the season.

Winning the physical battle with U’s powerhouse striker Uche Ikpeazu provided the platform for victory.

Ikpeazu had a strong appeal for a first-half penalty turned away after a tussle with the 25-year-old defender.

Burgess admitted it proved a testing duel for him.

He added: ‘Ikpeazu is one of the hardest players I’ve gone up against. One hundred per cent. He is a strong lad, got a bit of pace and you are never sure what he’s going to do.

‘I really enjoyed it. He nearly got the better of me early on but felt I stood up to the challenge.

‘I was pulled a little bit (in the penalty incident) when I thought I had the better of him. Then in a moment you are losing that battle.

‘I got a little tug and I thought to let him have it and finish it. He’s then gone down. Maybe he couldn’t have got the ball or had a heavy touch. I don’t think there was any contact.’