Cook’s warning for Pompey fans after Mansfield boos

Pompey boss Paul Cook   Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
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Paul Cook refused to criticise the Pompey boo-boys but warned Blues fans against turning Fratton Park into a ground in which their own side ‘fears to play’.

The hosts ran out emphatic 4-0 winners over nine-man Mansfield Town yesterday to move into fourth spot in the League Two table.

Players have got to feel comfortable playing at Fratton Park

Pompey boss Paul Cook

But Pompey’s inability to put the game beyond their visitors until the 84th minute – when Noel Hunt doubled their advantage – was a source of major frustration for many among the 16,393 crowd.

That spilled into sustained booing as the Blues’ patient probing football failed to satisfy the demands of a vocal home support.

But Cook pointed to Hunt’s goal – his first for the club – as vindication for sticking to his passing philosophy.

He added: ‘The crowd were getting agitated and there were moans and groans coming down, yet the ball ended up in the net with a fantastic goal.

‘Sometimes you have just got to be careful what you want and how you want our players to play – it can’t always be about winning.

‘We must have the confidence to play the game.

‘Players have got to feel comfortable playing at Fratton Park.

‘We can’t and I can’t turn Fratton Park into a place where lads fear to play.’

And Cook has called for togetherness as his side continue on their League Two promotion quest.

He added: ‘I don’t grasp the crowd reaction.

‘But for as anxious as our fans get, they only want success.

‘And I will never be critical of Pompey fans – never.

‘They turn up in their thousands and only want success.

‘But we are where we are – and nobody is getting promoted in November.

‘We have to make sure we all stick together.’