Gallen: Portsmouth fringe players made a statement against Arsenal under-21s

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Pompey’s fringe players made a statement for more first-team minutes in the 2-1 victory over Arsenal under-21s.

That is the verdict of Joe Gallen, as the Blues advanced into the last 16 of the competition for the second time in as many seasons.

Pompey celebrate their victory over Arsenal under-21s. Picture: Sean Ryan

Pompey celebrate their victory over Arsenal under-21s. Picture: Sean Ryan

Brett Pitman and Andre Green were on target in a dominant Pompey performance. 

Jackett made 11 changes from Sunday’s FA Cup success at Rochdale, giving those on the periphery of his squad their chance to impress. 

Gallen was looking for those who were given an opportunity to take it with both hands.

And the assistant boss believes the likes of Brett Pitman, Louis Dennis and Brandon Haunstrup all gave their manager food for thought. 

He said: ‘They did (make a statement) because there haven’t been many opportunities for them to make statements.

‘They nudged the manager to tell him they’re still here.

‘The team has been reasonably settled with the results and the performances with the way things have been going.

‘But we have a lot of good players on our bench at the moment.

‘A lot of them did themselves great justice and give the manager a nudge for future games.’

Pompey dominated the second-round tie and their victory could have been more emphatic.

Adam May struck the woodwork twice, while Dennis and Burgess both had decent chances.

Gallen thought Bukayo Saka’s 66th-minute equaliser, which cancelled out Pitman’s opener on 10 minutes, came against the run of play.

But he reckons Green’s match-winner seven minutes from time was fully deserved.

He added: ‘We had a lot of chances in the game and the woodwork saved it from being 3-1 or 4-1.

‘It was a very good performance from ourselves in both halves.

‘We were the better side on and off the ball in both halves.

‘We were particularly pleased with the performance and the result to get through.

‘Saka’s strike was good on the night but I don’t remember another shot on target.

‘It did come against the run of play and I thought maybe for five minutes afterwards we were wondering what had just happened.

‘But we came back into it very strongly and in the last 20 minutes I thought we were excellent.’