Carlisle boss Keith Curle paid tribute to the way Pompey play the game and admitted: It’s exactly what we are trying to bring to this football club.
Paul Cook’s side dominated from start to finish at Brunton Park on Saturday, enjoying 59 per cent of possession and 15 shots on goal in an eye-catching attacking display on the road.
I think man for man they are the best unit that we have come up against this season.Carlisle manager Keith Curle
The Cumbrians had nine fewer attempts and two corners in comparison to the Blues’ eight, but for all of the visitors’ dominance, the game ended 2-2 as Cook’s side’s search for a League Two win extended to five games.
Curle felt Carlisle, who netted a last-gasp equaliser in injury-time, showed Pompey the respect they deserved and praised his men for standing tall in the line of fire.
He said: ‘We showed them a lot of respect.
‘I think man for man they are the best unit that we have come up against this season.
‘That’s borne out by the way they play the game – exactly what we are trying to bring to this football club.
‘We are making strides and stepping stones towards it.
‘On Saturday, we were able to compete.
‘We knew we were going to be without possession of the ball for long periods of time but we tried to make sure they didn’t hurt us.
‘Possession stats will be largely in their favour but the pleasing thing is they didn’t expose us and have that much pressure on Mark (Gillespie – Carlisle’s goalkeeper) apart from the goals in the second half.’
And Curle believes both Blues’ goals, scored in quick succession by loan strikers Caolan Lavery and Marc McNulty, were avoidable.
He said: ‘We conceded two goals and that is a disappointment.
‘For the first goal we need to be better inside our own box – you can’t let nippy quick strikers get across you because that is playing the game to their advantage.
‘The second goal is poor communication and decision making and you get punished when you are playing against good teams.’