Crewe Alexandra boss reveals efforts to outsmart Cowleys after frustrating Portsmouth

David Artell has told how he changed his approach to deceive the Cowleys.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 11:00 am

The Crewe Alexandra boss was pleased with the efforts of his players after last night’s 0-0 draw with Pompey.

That result followed the Railwaymen suffering their biggest home defeat in nearly half a century, after a 6-0 hammering by Oxford United on Saturday.

Artell ran the changes, with six switches made for the game and he was rewarded with a hard-working performance from his side.

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Artell is undertaking his Uefa pro licence course with Danny and Nicky Cowley, and that meant the Pompey management team were privy to detailed information on Crewe’s approach.

That led to Crewe changing their strategy in an effort to outfox the new Blues set-up.

Artell told ‘If you keep a team with all the resources Portsmouth to zero goals, especially with the goals we conceded down there then you have to be relatively pleased.

Danny Cowley (Photo by Daniel Chesterton/

‘We also had some chances as well, a coupled of great chances. I don’t think any Crewe fan can say that the players didn’t show any grit or resilience this evening. The effort was there and you know me, that should be a given and there is no disguising that.

‘It was back to basics after Saturday and we played a bit differently because Danny and Nicky are on my pro-licence course and I did a presentation on how we play a few weeks ago, so I know they knew exactly how we played, so we had to do something different.’

Artell saluted the performance of keeper Will Jaaskelainen in preserving a point for Crewe, with the keeper not only saving John Marquis’ second-half penalty but then also producing a top-drawer stop to deny Ronan Curtis’ goalbound effort.

Artell thought that penalty stop was the catalyst for a strong finish to the game for his side, while also praising the efforts of midfielder Antony Evans.

He added ‘Will has produced saves that make sure we protected our clean-sheet and got a point. The save before half time from the scramble was terrific and he made a very good one with one handed in the second half when we gave the ball away too cheaply close to our own goal.

‘We know about his record on saving penalties. With him in that situation, you always feel he has a chance. He saved one on Saturday and was unlucky with the rebound but tonight he judged it right again and made a good save to make sure we didn’t concede.

‘I thought we controlled the game more after the penalty miss. I thought we kept the ball better and had one or two chances of our own.

‘I thought Antony was good tonight, that is the level he has to perform at from now until the end of the season. He was a threat with his delivery and went close to scoring with an excellent free-kick.’

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