Kenny Jackett reveals how he's got resurgent Portsmouth back in the promotion hunt

Kenny Jackett has pinpointed the crucial ingredients which have created resurgent Pompey’s winning formula.

Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 6:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 8:21 am

Since the dismal home defeat to Doncaster, Jackett’s men have collected three successive victories, scored nine times and amassed two clean sheets.

Pompey are unrecognisable from the side which struggled for creativity during a poor start to the League One campaign.

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The transformation has been driven by implementation of the 4-4-2 system, along with recalls for John Marquis, Andy Cannon and Ryan Williams.

Now the Blues sit fifth in League One – offering the Fratton faithful hope they are equipped for a promotion challenge.

Jackett said: ‘It is down to some perseverance, some confidence and one or two tactical changes. A combination of all of those things.

‘I thought we played pretty well at home to Doncaster, I don’t think we necessarily deserved to get beaten.

Pompey's players celebrate after Ronan Curtis' first league goal of the season puts them 3-0 up against Northampton last night. Picture: Robin Jones/Getty Images

‘We didn’t have a cutting edge, but Joe Wright and Tom Anderson are two good centre-backs and played well that day against us.

‘A lot of the play and performance we had to replicate – but try to find a combination that could give us a cutting edge. So we weren’t far away.

‘I do feel in the times when we have lost games, we weren’t a million miles away. And that has proven to be the case.

‘Winning and scoring goals obviously does breed confidence and you have to keep working hard at those, it’s not something that's just a given.

‘Initially, Michael Jacobs made a big difference, in terms of being able to press people, it’s a really big one.

‘But I do think we have to be flexible because we haven’t got Michael now and Ronan is a different type of player.

‘The 4-4-2 has also been important, but I also think we have to be flexible.

‘I understand the analysis, but, from my point of view, it is more about the players and getting the best out of them. Through the game you have to stay flexible as well.’

Despite starting with a 4-4-2, Jackett switched his system against the Cobblers shortly after securing a 3-0 lead.

It meant from around the hour mark, the Blues reverted to a 4-2-3-1, with Williams as the number 10.

He added: ‘We had to be a little flexible against Northampton, but it was the same players, particularly against a back three.

‘Marcus found a bit of space, which we couldn’t get him into in the first half, Ryan Williams is good at winning the ball back and pressing, there were one or two tactical tweaks.

‘It’s about the right players pressing, the right players passing, the right combinations. I don’t think we have to play one formation.

‘There have been times when we’ve gone to three at the back to secure victory this season. It’s not just one formation which is going to win it for us.’