Kenny Jackett pinpoints reasons behind streetwise Portsmouth's resurgence

Streetwise and lessons learnt – Kenny Jackett believes Pompey are reaping the rewards from coming of age.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 5:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 5:30 am

During the opening three months of the campaign, the Blues surrendered eight points through conceding late goals while in positions of strength.

They included potential League One victories over Coventry, Bristol Rovers and Oxford United.

Yet Jackett’s troops have significantly tightened up, with a club-record nine successive wins helping power them up to fifth in the table.

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The weak underbelly often demonstrated during the finale of matches appears to have been eradicated.

And Pompey’s boss has pinpointed the reasons.

He said: ‘In terms of game management, yes, we have talked about holding the ball in corners, the shape of our team, the consistency of our team, who at the end we throw up for set-pieces, to make sure we don’t get counter-attacked.

‘If we can – and this is the big one – not just sitting in, instead making sure we get out to press people.

Ellis Harrison, Ben Close and Tom Naylor celebrate victory at Tranmere as Pompey's resurgence continues. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

‘We did have spells when we looked like we were deliberately going deep to protect what we’ve got, which has invited them (the opposition) on a bit.

‘Did we quite get out to the ball as much as we could have done? Sometimes when you go up a division, they're that good and move the ball around.

‘But we did feel we should not sit so deep, so get up and press at the right time, and I think that is probably the biggest aspect.

‘The holding in a corner is one, definitely, but also the biggest one is getting up to the ball and pressing, not just inviting them on or letting them come through areas of the pitch unopposed without working for it.

‘That’s the biggest thing. Too many games we were sitting deep without any attempt to continue to press, which invited them on.’

Tonight the Blues travel to Coventry (7.45pm), whose 86th minute leveller at Fratton Park in August prevented a home triumph.

Jackett added: ‘It’s up to the us to take the lead, not sit too deep and keep pressing the ball.’