Mark Catlin on why the need for Portsmouth change signalled the end for Kenny Jackett

Mark Catlin admitted the desire to reinvigorate Pompey’s promotion challenge was behind Kenny Jackett’s exit.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 10:41 am
Updated Monday, 15th March 2021, 11:47 am

The penalty shoot-out loss – and the manner of performance – convinced Catlin to advise Pompey’s board that a change was required.

Concern had recently been building among the Blues hierarchy over whether even a play-off spot was now under threat.

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Following four points from 21 available and then Wembley defeat to League Two Salford, Jackett left Fratton Park towards the end of his fourth season.

And the seventh-placed Blues are banking on the appointment of a new figurehead re-energising fading promotion ambition.

Catlin told The News: ‘Saturday’s result and performance was definitely not in isolation.

‘It really was an accumulation of the last few weeks, where the pressure grew to a point of it having an adverse effect on the players and the club.

In happier times. Pompey boss Kenny Jackett, with chairman Michael Eisner and Mark Catlin at AFC Wimbledon in October 20198. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘I have to make a decision, along with the board. What in our opinion would give us the best chance of at least making the play-offs this season?

‘As it tends to do at this club, it builds very quickly. Seven weeks ago the prospect looked very, very good.

‘Two bad results and we are still looking and believing that the play-offs are realistic, we didn’t want to change things with the run of games we had coming up.

‘Once the play-offs started to look difficult, and given our current run of form, then unfortunately we were left with no other option.

‘It wasn't really just the results, it was the performances, to keep hearing our own players talking about confidence was a concern.

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‘In the end, we tried desperately to give it as long as possible, hoping that a result could spark a return of confidence and resurgence in form - but it just didn’t come.

‘It really got to a point of act or don’t act. I live and die by those decisions.

‘The change was made to give us the best chance of achieving a shot at the play-offs at least, trying to rally everyone back behind the Pompey flag.

‘I have always said that the key for us is improving year on year, but we were in danger of not improving this season.

‘So do we just sit back and allow that to happen? Or do I advise the board that I felt there was a need for change?

‘That is, unfortunately, what I did.’

Joe Gallen and Jake Wigley will take the side for Tuesday night’s trip to high-flying Peterborough.

However, the Blues are in the process of recruiting a replacement for Jackett – either as caretaker until the season’s end or permanently.

Catlin added: ‘There’s two things you look for: performance and result. You can get away with one, but you can’t get away with having neither.

‘The second half and extra-time against Salford we were the stronger team, but the first half was a difficult watch for everyone, including Kenny.

‘I think if it had been a win, draw, draw, loss, win and there was a way out of it, we would have done all we could to get until the end of the season to give us that chance.

‘The general feeling of what I was watching was the longer we gave Kenny, the confidence was sinking even deeper – and something had to change.’

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