Portsmouth players on the statement they believe they've fired to League One after Rotherham victory

Pompey’s players lauded a statement victory as they put promotion contenders Rotherham to the sword.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 6:00 am

The win made it four wins on the bounce for the Blues and extended their fast-improving form to a single defeat from 12 games.

Significantly, it was the first time Jackett’s side had beaten a top-four side this calendar year, with the last success of that nature coming against Sunderland in December.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ben Close scores the winner against Rotherham

Anton Walkes believes the win lays down a marker and is the kind that has to be repeated if Pompey are to enjoy a successful campaign.

Walkes said: ‘This is a statement. It has to be.

‘If you want to be up there with the guys at the top and want to have hopes of getting promoted, you have to beat the top sides.

‘You can’t make a habit of just beating the ones down there fighting for what they’re fighting for.

‘You have to make statements because if you want to play at the next level you have to beat everyone in this league.

‘There’s a lot of quality and it isn’t going to get any easier to reach the Championship.

‘So we have to put teams to bed and I’m pleased that’s what we were able to do.’

Midfielder Ben Close echoed Walkes’ sentiments and believes the result shows there is resolve in Jackett’s ranks.

The 23-year-old reckons the manner in which they came back to grab the three points after twice being pegged back underlines that.

Close added: ‘They are a promotion contender.

‘Looking back on Saturday I thought we were excellent after a tough first half.

‘We defended well then and looked like scoring when we had to, and could’ve scored four or five.

‘That gave us confidence and you could see that in the way we started the game against Rotherham.

‘Then to come through like we did after being pegged back twice shows character.

‘There’s been weeks when we’ve thrown away leads but this time we’ve bounced back twice.

‘So to go on win like we did is really pleasing for us.

‘They were off the back of a great result where they came from behind on Saturday and probably felt they could do the same again.

‘So the character we showed was excellent.’