Pompey weighing up retaining new system

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler
Louis Dennis. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Pompey are weighing up continuing with their new-look playing system.

And Joe Gallen has praised manager Kenny Jackett’s bravery for daring to implement change to a team already surpassing expectations.

Somebody has to make the decision and stick by it and Kenny could have fallen flat on his face, so it is brave from that point of view.

Joe Gallen

The Blues unveiled a 3-5-2 formation for only the second time in the Jackett era when they hosted Scunthorpe at the weekend.

The subsequent 1-1 draw strengthened an argument for maintaining its presence when heading to Rotherham on Saturday.

It was against the Millers in September when Jackett initially introduced the wing-back system – only to scrap it at half-time in a 1-0 defeat.

Following the weekend point, however, the debate is rather more compelling as Pompey’s boss mulls over retaining the formation at the New York Stadium.

His assistant, Gallen, said: ‘There is the decision to be made – whether we stick to that or go back to our normal system of 4-4-1-1 with the number 10.

‘The 4-4-1-1 is no doubt the preferred and favoured system, but I thought the change worked very well.

‘With Gareth Evans possibly coming back from injury, it could lend itself back to the original style of play, which we could slot into pretty quickly because we have done so much work and have got some really good results off that.

‘Or, following a good performance against one of the best teams in the league (Scunthorpe), we could probably keep the same.

‘We changed it against Rotherham at Fratton Park, but it didn’t look quite right so it was scrapped at half-time, whereas Saturday we grabbed the game at the start.

‘The manager is very experienced. Everyone has ideas and opinions, it’s only right, but somebody has to make the decision and stick by it and he could have fallen flat on his face, so it is brave from that point of view.

‘You could stick to the tried and trusted, but he got his points across very well in training on Thursday and made everyone have an understanding of it. Getting the right people in the right slots in the key.

‘It looked pretty cohesive, when previous times when we’ve done that it’s looked very incohesive. This appeared natural.

‘That is not to say we will go and do the same thing again. It will be a decision for the manager in the next few days.’

For Gallen, the usual system – which he describes as a 4-4-1-1 – remains Pompey’s favoured.

However, he believes the players have swiftly adapted to the fresh formation.

‘We have played a certain way this season and the 4-4-1-1 is the favoured system, no doubt about that,’ added Gallen.

‘We felt we have done a lot of work to get the players to play the system how we want it to be played.

‘Results off the back of that have built a lot of confidence, which ultimately brings a lot of understanding.

‘Then there is a huge sea change, which is going from a back four to a back three, and putting one in front of the two number eights.

‘Once that happens it is quite big and can sometimes take quite a while for there to be some understanding.’