PAUL COOK asked for Pompey fans to show faith in him after their Morecambe disappointment.
And the Blues boss believes a ‘witch hunt’ of the players struggling for confidence needs to be avoided after last night’s 2-0 loss.
Cook’s side are winless in four attempts this season after going down to a frustrating reverse at the Globe Arena.
The 48-year-old delivered an impassioned defence of his players, however, and is unwavering in his belief they are of the calibre to guide the club out of League Two.
Cook accepted Pompey are struggling for a cutting edge at present with one goal from three league outings to date.
And he promised he isn’t hiding from the issues behind a stalled start to the campaign.
‘We had nearly 600 supporters travel to this game,’ said Cook.
‘I watch the game like fans. It’s not good enough.
‘We need more penetration in the final third.
‘But when we went to two strikers at the end of the match I felt we lost control of the game.
‘The fans have got to trust their manager to sort it out.
‘We’ve had a lot of change in the summer again, probably more than we’d like.
‘The reality is we haven’t hit the ground running.
‘That’s the reality of it. Let’s not hide from that.
‘But I believe within that squad there’s plenty to come.
‘Of course I believe in those players. The Bakers and Roberts are good players.
‘But you can’t change it. The people who want to build the tension will get their say.
‘If you go and win 2-0 or 3-0 now we bounce back. That’s how football is.
‘It’s a long season. What we have to do is have a belief in ourselves and what we do.’
Morecambe’s home again served up nightmarish memories for Pompey after keeper Barry Roche scored in injury time in February to earn his side a 1-1 draw.
This time Roche produced a string of saves to repel the Blues in the second half as they piled forward.
His display didn’t paper over the visitors’ attacking shortcomings, however.
Cook feels support is needed for players short on confidence, though.
And venting any frustration at them, he believes, is only going to create negativity for them to feed on.
He added: ‘I’m not going to go into individuals all over the pitch because one or two of our players are struggling for a bit of form.
‘I’m not stupid enough not to say they aren’t struggling, but let’s not have a witch hunt for our players.
‘If we do that, we’re offering up our own demise.
‘In the end you make a pit of anger. We’re not doing that.
‘Our players have to have belief and confidence.
‘I know the challenge for manager is to lead us out of the league.
‘There is no hiding place from that – but it won’t happen getting beaten 2-0 every week.’