Ertl: Spirit’s still strong in Pompey

Johnny Ertl. Picture: Joe Pepler
Johnny Ertl. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jamal Lowe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Why eyes are on Scunthorpe in Pompey bid to make play-offs

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JOHNNY ERTL surveyed Pompey’s second-half fightback against Bournemouth and insisted: We showed the fans our character.

The Blues club captain was pleased the Fratton faithful saw resolve from their players in the 3-2 loss to the Championship side.

Poor defending was to blame as Andy Awford’s men shipped three first-half goals in their opening home game of pre-season.

The Blues boss rang the changes at the interval, with nine substitutions made.

And it was better from his side after the break as James Dunne’s superb volley and Jed Wallace’s penalty reduced the arrears.

Ertl believes that shows the determination which drove Pompey to League Two safety last season is still in place.

He said: ‘It’s good that we ended the game on a high.

‘We scored and the fans are cheering at home.

‘We showed character and they would have said “They can fight”.

‘That is a really good message for us to send them.

‘This is actually what made us so strong at the end of last season – the character of the team.

‘Everyone was in there together, and the fans can see that again.

‘That is a really good thing, and I think the people will get that message.

Ertl wasn’t too downhearted about losing out to a side two leagues above his team.

And the Austrian was encouraged Pompey made the most of the chances which came their way in the second 45 minutes.

Ertl said: ‘We took our chances in the second half and we were well organised.

‘It was back to basics. We kept the ball on the floor and we made the right decisions.

‘You have to remember they are a Championship side.

‘We are a huge club, but we are in League Two and that is the reality of it. So I think it was a helpful test.

‘We will analyse it, work on bits and bobs and take it forward.

‘There were some good performances out there.

‘The new boys got introduced to the crowd and the set-up here.

‘It was a really good and useful exercise for us.’

Pompey now round off pre-season against Charlton on Saturday, and Ertl knows there is still plenty to work on.

He said: ‘In football there are so many things to improve.

‘After Ebbsfleet, we didn’t have a lot of time, but across the period from that game and building up to the Charlton game we can work on a lot.

‘We can improve and look at what’s missing.

‘We work on our weaknesses and we look at our strengths and where we can hurt opponents.’