Pompey boss Kenny Jackett pinpointed experience and ‘players with a point to prove’ as key factors to the Blues getting their league season back on track at Blackpool.
Following Tuesday’s 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy success at Charlton, Gareth Evans, Danny Rose and Kal Naismith all retained their places in the starting XI at Bloomfield Road, having been out of favour for much of the campaign.
Jackett praised those players for taking their chance to catch the eye again as the Blues came away with a 3-2 win, with the decision to go ‘for as much experience as he could’ proving crucial to a first League One victory in four matches for his side.
‘I wanted as much experience in the side with the likes of Evans and Rose coming in, Naismith and a combination of Bennett and Pitman up front,’ said Jackett.
‘It was a big week for us where we really needed to get back on track and we’ve got a good win at Charlton but, more importantly, a league win at Blackpool.
‘I went for as much experience as I possibly could. Brett Pitman and Kyle Bennett up front are an experienced pair and have a lot of league games between them.
‘And we had the likes of Danny Rose, Gareth Evans and Christian Burgess – we definitely do need more of that to win consistently at this level.
‘They had a point to prove and earned their places on Tuesday night.
‘I thought their quality, commitment and heart they showed at Charlton meant they deserved their chance again and they then took it.
‘We need that now and it’s very important for some of the younger players who just have to wait their turn and be ready and make sure that they put pressure on the side.’
Pompey twice took the lead on Saturday courtesy of Brett Pitman and Ben Close goals, only for Blackpool to hit back in a breathtaking second half.
Pitman’s header on 86 minutes ensured the Blues had the final say to make the long trip back to the south coast with three points after a pleasing afternoon.
But while Jackett was encouraged by the visitors’ attacking intent, he admits more needs to be done to make Pompey tougher to beat at the back.
‘I always feel going into our end, whether it’s home or away, that we’re capable of scoring goals in front of our fans and that proved to be the case in the second period,’ added the Londoner.
‘We always have attacking intent and you can see with the team selection and the matches we’ve drawn that we go for the wins.
‘We have to keep taking the games to teams.‘
‘But I would like to have been more defensive-minded when we went in front.
‘That is something to look at because there’s not a lot of natural defenders in the team. We have conceded wide from free-kicks – one against Bradford and one at Blackpool.
‘And we have to do some work on that because our starting positions were poor and it almost cost us.
‘But we showed a lot of character. It’s been a pleasing week in terms of results, performance and character and we’re back on the right track.’