Carling Cup exit is no tragedy, says Blues boss

Pompey endure a tough evening against Barnet
Pompey endure a tough evening against Barnet
Pompey striker Conor Chaplin struggles to hide his disappointment

Southend 3-1 Pompey: They said what?

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Steve Cotterill shrugged off Pompey’s Carling Cup upset and insisted: It’s not the end of the world.

The Blues delivered a woeful display which saw them knocked out of the competition by Barnet last night.

The League Two outfit fully deserved their Fratton Park victory and could well have won more handsomely than the 1-0 scoreline.

Pompey were one of six Championship sides on the receiving end of a shock.

Coventry, Hull, Ipswich, Derby and Barnsley were also eliminated by lower division opposition last night.

Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest had to rely on penalties to see off Notts County.

In addition, Burnley beat Burton Albion 6-3 and Peterborough edged Stevenage 4-3, both in extra-time.

Cotterill was unhappy with the manner of Pompey’s defeat to the Bees.

But he is adamant there are bigger tests this season – starting with the visit of Brighton on Saturday.

He said: ‘This first round of the Carling Cup always springs results you don’t expect.

‘There are other results elsewhere which show that.

‘This is not the end of the world. We are really disappointed but it is not the end of the world.

‘We will be there and ready on Saturday for what will be a completely different game.

‘We had three games in the Carling Cup last year, including an extra-time and I don’t think it did us any favours.

‘If this result means us winning on Saturday, I would swap that.

‘At the end of the day, I have managed this football club through rougher times than this.

‘There were other shocks last night. Why have they gone out? How can you explain that?

‘Maybe it might be a blessing, I don’t know.’

Barnet thoroughly deserved their victory, a fact acknowledged by Cotterill.

Pompey were a shadow of the side who twice fought back at the Riverside on Saturday to claim a 2-2 draw.

That prompted a player-led inquest in the Blues dressing room last night, long after the full-time whistle.

And Cotterill conceded he was disappointed in their attitude during the match.

He added: ‘Give Barnet credit, they came here and played very well.

‘We didn’t look like we were the hungry team who played on Saturday.

‘We didn’t win a second ball, we didn’t win a challenge all night of any note and when you don’t do that the other team can dominate the game.

‘It was a game when we just didn’t quite look as if we were ready for it.

‘I said before the match it was going to be all about our attitude. We then performed like that just three days after a tough, gritty performance in the north east.

‘In a few challenges we looked like we didn’t want to get hurt.

‘The players are disappointed in themselves, which is good.’