Oxford United 1 Pompey 1: Paul Cook warns Blues over sloppy play

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Paul Cook warned Pompey to buck up their possession ideas.

The Blues boss felt his team were sloppy on the ball for long periods in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Oxford United.

If you keep giving the ball away you will have problems.

Paul Cook

Pompey narrowly edged possession against the U’s over the 90 minutes at the Kassam Stadium.

They had 51 per cent of the ball to Oxford’s 49 per cent, which is markedly lower than what it has been for much of the season.

It was what Pompey were doing when they were on the ball which irked Cook, as they failed to retain it in situations where that should have been the case.

And there has to be improvements in that area in the Scouser’s eyes. Cook said: ‘There were errors in possession. A lot of errors come from giving away possession cheaply.

‘If you give the ball away cheaply you will concede more chances.

‘We couldn’t get going and they looked a threat.

‘If you keep giving the ball away you will have problems.

‘It’s a funny game because we were really poor for periods.

‘We were probably lucky to be in the game at times.

‘But then there were periods where we dominated.’

Pompey also failed to carve out anywhere near enough chances across the 90 minutes on Saturday.

They had just four shots to Oxford’s 13 – and the goal was their only shot on target in the game.

Cook’s side did control much of the second half, however, until Michael Doyle was sent off in the 81st minute.

The boss said: ‘Our first-half performance was poor but there were spells in the second half when we controlled.

‘When we equalised our supporters would have liked us to go on and get the winner.

‘There was more maturity in our performance.

‘We got better and were in control.

‘It’s still a learning curve and there’s a long way to go.’