'Let’s be honest, you get criticised regardless': Danny Cowley reveals reasons behind shock Portsmouth selection in AFC Wimbledon triumph

It wasn’t merely the changing of a winning team by Danny Cowley, but a side which had produced Pompey’s finest display of the season so far.

Sunday, 21st November 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Sunday, 21st November 2021, 7:26 am

A bold tactical decision, not that Blues boss feared the consequences.

Certainly he anticipated criticism, all managerial decisions attract such scrutiny, yet the shock selection of Michael Jacobs would prove successful.

Marking his first League One start since April, the former Wigan man netted in Pompey’s 2-1 victory over AFC Wimbledon.

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Of the two alterations to the side which defeated Wycombe, Gavin Bazunu’s inclusion was a little more obvious – not quite so Jacobs.

Cowley told The News: ‘It was tactical. Let’s be honest, you get criticised regardless don’t you, so you just try to make the decisions you believe in, that’s the truth.

‘It’s easy to go with a winning team, but you want to win again, this game was very different.

‘Wycombe are direct and Wimbledon are very different from that, we felt the match needed something slightly different.

Lee Brown embraces Michael Jacobs after the winger netted Pompey's leveller on a rare League One start. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘Wimbledon play their full-backs very, very high, with the wide men pushed in, so we played a diamond, otherwise we would have been overloaded in wide areas.

‘Michael does that very well and also did well when he came on against Wycombe, while I wanted to get two up front for us.

‘We are relatively pragmatic at the moment because there are so few players available, so we have to dig deep and fight really hard to come to the right side of results – and that’s a collective effort.

‘It has been a while since Michael started in the league for us. He’s played in Papa John’s games and a couple of bounce (Pompey XI) games and hadn’t done that well, if I’m honest.

‘Sometimes with younger players it’s about giving the ball at the right time – he looked a much better player on Saturday with experienced players around him.’

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For Jacobs, it was his first goal since registering in the 3-1 success at Charlton in February, when Kenny Jackett was manager.

Putting that into perspective, that was 16 appearances without netting during a frustrating time for the left-sided player.

Cowley added: ‘It was a really good goal from him.

‘Michael had also been involved in those early exchanges in the opening 20 minutes, he had one, a little chip, yet is a good finisher, so I had him to score that.

‘He’s a good player, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.

‘Michael’s had to wait – and he has – and got himself going. That’s great and a real positive moving forward.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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