Paul Cook calls for Pompey defensive improvements

Pompey boss Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Bradley Lethbridge. Picture: Colin Farmery

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Paul Cook has demanded defensive improvements from his Pompey team.

And the Blues’ boss admitted Adam Barton is under consideration to again serve as a stand-in centre-back against Luton Town this afternoon.

I know it’s a learning curve but you must learn, you can’t keep making mistakes and gifting goals like we are doing away from home if we want to win games, it’s not good enough

Paul Cook

Pompey suffered only their third league defeat of the campaign when they lost 3-2 at Leyton Orient on Saturday.

It was a scoreline dictated by three defensive mistakes from the visitors, who also had Adam Webster sent off.

Connor Essam’s own goal and Gareth Evans’ sixth of the season were all Pompey had to show from the match.

And for their manager, defensively they were found wanting.

Cook said: ‘You couldn’t make the goals up on Saturday and you couldn’t make the goals up we have conceded lately.

‘That is something we have got to get better at and learn.

‘We have a front two in (Marc) McNulty and (Caolan) Lavery who we don’t realise how quick, aggressive and strong they are.

‘And sometimes at the back we make decisions that are horrendous when we have got such strength at the other end.

‘We are not against clearing your lines now and again – and we keep saying that to the Websters, the Clarkes, the Hollands and all these lads.

‘I know it’s a learning curve but you must learn, you can’t keep making mistakes and gifting goals like we are doing away from home if we want to win games. It’s not good enough.

‘For that first goal we were in total possession of the ball and they end up scoring and we’ve got 10 men. You couldn’t make it up.

‘It’s a mistake, that’s football but for the penalty we felt it was a very, very soft decision to say the least.

‘You look at the Wycombe game, the goals at Carlisle and we are under absolutely no pressure and manage to concede goals and it’s not right.

‘We have conceded too many goals away from home recently and it’s not good enough. You cannot give the opposition a smell of the game – and we did on Saturday.’

Webster must now serve a one-match ban, ruling him out of today’s visit of Luton.

Christian Burgess is still sidelined, while Jack Whatmough has yet to play competitively following injury.

It means Barton is again in the frame,

Cook added: ‘Adam is Adam, we know him and he is not a centre-half.

‘He is a ball-playing midfielder but I thought he didn’t do a lot wrong.

‘We are going to have to look at the game and he might have to do it for a match.’

– NEIL ALLEN