Kenny Jackett reveals real reason for Portsmouth change to attacking approach with focus on passing game

Kenny Jackett admitted he’s trying to impress a more expansive brand of football on his Pompey players.

Thursday, 29th October 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th October 2020, 1:27 pm

And the Blues boss has revealed his thinking behind the shift in emphasis to more attracting play as their season thrives.

The 4-0 victory over Northampton on Tuesday night made it six wins out of seven with 18 goals scored in the process.

The attacking and free-flowing nature of that football in that run has been impressive, coming from a manager who’s attracted criticism from some supporters for a direct approach - a label often attached to him through his managerial career.

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Jackett would disagree with that and those who believe he’s responding to fan pressure for change, but explained there has been a recognition a switch in approach is needed.

He said: ‘I think we’ve got quite a good squad and, as people can see, I’ve moved it around slightly in the early part of the season.

‘That’s both in terms of one or two personnel and formation to try to accommodate some new players and get the best out of them.

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett

‘One part of our game we did feel we need to improve was our middle third football.

‘I think we needed to flow through the thirds a little bit more.

‘Against Brighton we started too deep and gave them opportunities to win it back.

‘But similarly, our middle third and starting our passing high are things we have worked on and talked about.

‘If you bring in someone like Michael Jacobs, it does help you in terms of going through the thirds. That can build the confidence.

‘Andy Cannon’s had good involvement and is starting games on the trot.

‘It’s a different role for him coming deeper in a two-man midfield with Tom Naylor - and he’s responded well.’

Pompey’s switch to a 4-4-2 formation has been another big talking point, with the move coinciding with the upturn in results.

Jackett is loathe to attach too much significance to that influencing the season’s lift-off, but acknowledged it has brought different partnerships into play which have worked well.

He said: ‘I sometimes feel that formations are overrated, but also it’s combinations - and a different formation can give you a different combination.

‘That’s where I think it’s very important and can be very important.

‘It’s personnel over formation - 100 per cent.

‘We’ve got some good attacking players - and people capable of scoring goals in terms of our actual players

‘You can be a great coach and have a fantastic take on what a formation consists of, but if you’re going to be without good players it very seldom works.

‘I think we have a good attitude and I haven’t seen anyone with bad attitudes yet.

‘As as side, I think we’ve had industry but I also feel there’s some quality within the squad, too.

‘My job as a manager is to try to marry and knit those things together.’

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