Defiant Danny Cowley vows to keep faith in new Portsmouth playing style despite Burton humbling

Danny Cowley has pledged to stick by his new playing system, despite Burton’s ruthless dismantling of Pompey.

By Neil Allen
Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 4:55 am
Danny Cowley tries to lift his side in last night's 2-1 defeat at Burton. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/
Danny Cowley tries to lift his side in last night's 2-1 defeat at Burton. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/

The Blues’ recent encouraging form was halted at the Pirelli Stadium last night as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side exposed glaring weaknesses.

Cowley had named the same starting XI for a third successive game after buoyed by consecutive 2-2 draws, while retained his three centre-back formation.

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During proceedings, Cowley scrapped his back three to operate in a 4-2-3-1, yet was unable to change the course of defeat.

However, the former Huddersfield boss still has every faith in his wing-back system.

He told The News: ‘Yes, we will keep it. I think systems are systems, aren’t they.

‘We (eventually) built in a 4-2-3-1, we pressed with two forward players, Burton didn’t give us many opportunities to press.

‘Burton played very, very differently to what they have been doing. They’ve been trying to build from the back and didn’t do any of that, they just kicked, and that’s absolutely their right to do that.

‘We weren't able to get into our pressing and, in possession, we just weren’t able to come up with solutions, which was frustrating because they were there for us.

‘It’s actually about executing things technically. The first goal is really poor from us and based on not working hard enough to make angles and options for the player on the ball.

‘You have to work really, really hard to play this way, you have to make sure you are making double movements to find the space to get free and create the option for playing the ball.

‘We thought it was the right thing to go with an unchanged team, so we’ll reflect on it.

‘It’s tough in certain areas at the moment with two left-footed defenders out, it’s not easy.

‘We were hoping Connor (Ogilvie) would be available, but he wasn’t. You’ve got to be careful because if you rush him then we’ll reinjure the quad and be back to square one.’

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Pompey’s players felt the full tongue of Cowley after the match.

They have now gone eight matches without victory – conceded eight goals in their last four fixtures.

But Cowley declined to go into detail over what he said to his underperforming players.

He added: ‘Sometimes when you come out after performances like that it’s better to keep your feelings to yourself.

‘I have shared them with the players, but, for me, things that are said in the dressing room should stay in the dressing room.

‘We are in professional football, it’s a league sport, and success doesn’t always happen in a straight line.

‘We have disappointing moments and disappointing periods and you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you, so we will take the learning from Burton and we’ll respond, because we’re determined people.’

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