Pompey boss: Still room for improvement

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler
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A winning start for manager and owners, while two debut goals for Pompey’s new skipper.

Yet irrespective of the perfect day, Kenny Jackett believes there remains room for improvement within his team.

There’s a lot to improve on. We need to be more expansive when we are a man up and our passing could have been crisper

Kenny Jackett

Brett Pitman struck twice in the second half to register a 2-0 victory for the Blues on their League One return.

Rochdale had been reduced to 10 men from the 21st minute after Keith Keane poleaxed Conor Chaplin when clean through, earning a red card.

Nonetheless, it took until 34 seconds into the second half before Jackett’s men broke the deadlock.

The Blues were unconvincing in the first half, while they endured a tense finish following the dismissal of Jamal Lowe with nine minutes remaining.

Then Pitman settled the nerves with a stoppage-time second, much to the delight of the vast majority of the 18,009 crowd.

Jackett’s reign has started encouragingly – but the work remains in progress.

He said: ‘I am very pleased, the result was exactly what you want – a clean sheet and a win.

‘However, we have plenty of work to do and that would be the case whatever the result on Saturday.

‘Still, hopefully that can give the players the right type of confidence.

‘Not a false confidence but the right type that they can compete at this level because it is a new league for everybody after League Two for four years.

‘There’s a lot to improve on. We need to be more expansive when we are a man up and our passing could have been crisper.

‘For the first 20 minutes they negated us and I thought there were a lot of goal kicks, a lot of throw-ins, the ball in play was low and it didn’t flow.

‘That obviously suited the away team, that was a job they had to do.

‘Then, following the sending off, we had to be more expansive, get the ball into wide areas, really work them from one side to the other and do well in possession.

‘Some of our passing was very good but similarly there were unforced errors which gave us problems.

‘But our recovery runs to defend were very good.

‘Despite some heart-in-the-mouth moments in some of our passing, we recovered to make sure Rochdale didn’t get a goal or really create too many clear-cut chances.’