Former Arsenal striker dismisses Portsmouth theory as Blues exit FA Cup at Chesterfield

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright was having none of it when it was suggested Pompey’s League One priorities might have impacted their performance at Chesterfield today.
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With former Fratton Park captain Tom Naylor heading home the winner for Paul Cook’s side on 32 minutes, the loss was the first time Pompey have been turned over by a non-league side in the competition for nine years. It was also the Blues’ first defeat over 90 minutes in any competition since March.

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Pompey, who enjoy a three-point advantage at the top of League One, have proven time and time again this term that they are the comeback kings when it comes to going behind.

Former Arsenal striker Ian WrightFormer Arsenal striker Ian Wright
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright

They had nearly 60 minutes to overturn their hosts’ slender advantage, yet created very little in the second half and failed to draw a save from Spireites keeper Harry Tryer after the break. In fact, the Everton loanee faced only three shots on target the whole game, compared to Chesterfield’s six.

But when it was put to him by ITV present Mark Pougatch that the Blues might have subsconsiously accepted their fate – especially in the latter stages of Sunday’s game – because of their league ambitions, Wright quikcly dismissed the suggestion.

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Instead, he believe’s John Mousinho’s side were simply not good enough to unlock Cook’s side.

The two-time winner of the Cup said: ‘I don’t know, Pugs, simpy because you’re playing a game. There’s no stage when you’re losing in a game you’re thinking “okay, right, we’re doing well in the league and it’s just the Cup". No! Because you want to win the game to keep the momentum going, to keep the confidence in the team going.

‘The way they’ve been playing in their league, they should have been putting (on a show).

‘I think what Cookie’s done with his team, they were set up very well. You know, we didn’t see anything out of the centre forward (Colby Bishop), which is a shame for him because it was a big game for him.

‘At the same time, you can’t take anything away from Chesterfield.‘