Kenny Jackett: Why I didn’t use my final Portsmouth substitute against Sunderland

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Kenny Jackett has lifted the lid on his decision to bench Pompey’s final substitute.

The Blues’ play-off campaign is over following last night’s goalless draw with Sunderland, earning the visitors an aggregate 1-0 victory.

James Vaughan replaced Oli Hawkins in the second half Picture: Joe Pepler

James Vaughan replaced Oli Hawkins in the second half Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett’s men were largely lacklustre and failed to produce enough attacking moments to seize control of the semi-final second-leg occasion.

Pompey's boss had introduced Jamal Lowe and James Vaughan off the bench by the 68th minute in an attempt to find inspiration.

Yet, curiously, he failed to utilise his remaining substitution, leaving the likes of Ronan Curtis unused.

Ultimately, the game petered out, with no dramatic finale, not even with six minutes of time added on.

And, afterwards, Jackett explained his reasoning.

He said: ‘I just wanted to see if I could leave people on.

‘I didn’t want to take Pitman off. Although he wasn’t necessarily in it in the second half, I did think that maybe he could come up with a moment, if anybody can he can.

‘So can Gareth Evans as well, both of those are really strong players for us and can come up with moments, even in quiet games, that’s the feeling.

‘I didn’t think altering the back six was necessarily an improvement or a change of formation.

‘Maybe I could have brought Ronan Curtis on for Gareth, that perhaps was my final one.

‘But as you are running the minutes down, you are actually stopping the flow even more and it becomes difficult.

‘I particularly wanted to leave Pitman on. We had substituted Hawkins and Solomon-Otabor and wanted to leave both Evans and Pitman on because they are both capable of moments – and we needed that.

‘Gareth is our set-piece taker and if one thing can happen in a quiet half, it can be a set-piece.’

Another option for Jackett was to replace one of his two holding midfielders and adding more attacking power.

In this instance, it was Tom Naylor and Ben Close in those positions, with both seeing out the match’s full duration.

And Jackett admits he was wary of tinkering with his line-up.

He added: ‘To be fair, our build-up play and their ability to kill it was there.

‘You do need enough people to regain it and recycle it, to move and go again.’