Gaffer: Portsmouth automatic promotion hopes over after Burton loss - let's now cement our play-off place

Gaffer for a Day Reece Hawkins, aged 25 from Chichester, assesses Pompey’s 2-1 defeat to Burton...

Sunday, 11th April 2021, 5:30 pm
Craig MacGillivray was named as Pompey's man of the match by Gaffer for a Day Reece Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler

How do you view that performance?

The possession was there, we finished with 77 per cent, and you can see how the Cowley brothers try to play from the back.

It makes a huge difference, whereas before it was hoof ball from the back through Jack Whatmough and Sean Raggett.

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I recall Danny Cowley saying quite clearly that it might not work at all times. Personally, Raggett makes me nervous on the ball more than any other player.

As it turned out, it was Tom Naylor whose poor pass across the pitch led to their long throw which brought the opening goal for Burton.

You mentioned possession, why were Pompey unable to make that count?

Unfortunately our crossing was awful, there were sloppy first touches, and Burton were fantastic at getting numbers back to defend.

They deserved their win, 100 per cent. They arrived at Fratton Park with a game plan and did very well shutting us out. So give them credit.

Looking at the stats, we had 12 corners to their one, yet struggled to create too many clear-cut chances.

I also don’t like Ronan Curtis up front. He’s hard working and nobody in that squad has as much passion, but he’s better out wide.

He can also be bullied in games – long-term Curtis as a striker just doesn’t work.

Where do you think Pompey will end up?

Realistically, the automatics are over, I can’t see us getting anywhere near the top two, especially as others above keep winning.

It’s very easy to say we still have a chance – but we haven’t. And Sunderland are doing very well in third.

It was doable with eight games remaining but, following defeat to Burton, we are now 12 points off second place with seven matches left. That’s a bit too far.

Instead it’s about cementing ourselves into the play-offs and getting confidence into the lads for a strong end to the season.

Who stood out for you?

Craig MacGillivray kept us in it, without him it could have been a lot worse than it was.

There were a couple of saves in the first half, plus that late stop from Lucas Akins. The game could have been well beyond us before Charlie Daniels’ consolation.

There’s nothing he could have done about Joe Powell’s goal, which was swerving, taking it well beyond his reach.

I’ve seen a few replays and, if anything, Andy Cannon should have done better in the wall. He turned his back, which is where the direction of the ball headed.

Craig shouldn’t get any criticism for that.

Craig MacGillivray 7

Callum Johnson 6

Jack Whatmough 6

Sean Raggett 5

Lee Brown 6 (Charlie Daniels 6)

Tom Naylor 6

Ben Close 6

Andy Cannon 6

Marcus Harness 6

Ryan Williams 6

Ronan Curtis 6

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