Pompey boss delivers key instruction to players as 'pressure' point made for Barnsley

The thoughts of the Pompey manager ahead of a huge night at Fratton Park.
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John Mousinho says that he nor his Pompey players are feeling any additional pressure ahead of their Sky Bet League One clash with Barnsley tonight.

The Blues are just a point away from clinching promotion and can do that this evening. If they defeat the Tykes then they will be crowned champions and will lift the trophy in their final home game against Wigan Athletic next week.

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Pompey are approaching the match like any other game however, but the boss things that his players like they have done all season will deal with the occasion. They need to beat a Barnsley team that are hoping to join them in the Championship next season, but will have to via the route of the play-offs.

“I don't feel any more pressure going in to the game tomorrow night and I don't think that the boys do than any other night,” stated the 37-year-old.

“We didn't against Derby or Bristol Rovers at the start of the season than we did when we welcomed Burton on a Tuesday night in a game that everyone looks as you have to win that one to achieve what you want to achieve.

“The rewards are a little bit different tomorrow but I think the pressure of the game is exactly what the lads have been dealing with all year.”

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Pompey did have the chance to get promoted last weekend but their draw with Bolton Wanderers and the results going against them meant they had to wait just that little bit longer. The plus side is that now the moment they could secure their return to the Championship to might be experienced in front of their home supporters.

“Hopefully that will be the advantage,” added Mousinho. “The boys are comfortable at home and things will be familiar in terms of preparation for the game. We know what a huge boost that the crowd can be and what they have been all season.

“Those Tuesday night games have been amazing throughout my time here. Even at the back end of last year, some of those occasions we had on the Tuesday nights were absolutely fantastic. I just hope we'll have another one of those on Tuesday night.

At the weekend, Abu Kamara gave Pompey the perfect start at the Toughsheet Community Stadium. He took on the defender and scored with a low hard finish to send the 2,500 away supporters in to ecstasy.

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The visitors though failed to add to that and after dealing with wave after wave of Bolton attacks, Aaron Collins a former target for the club got the Trotters level. It was a first half that also saw the returning Callum Lang get carded.

Mousinho’s message to the players this evening will be to play to the game not the occasion. He himself admitted that it is a balancing act between showing your willingness to win whilst also maintaining your discipline.

“It was a funny one,” admitted Mousinho.

“In a lot of ways we dealt with the occasion brilliantly well for the start of the game. There were seven or eight minutes where we got on top of ourselves. It's almost like the goal hurt us a bit.

“We had a chance before the goal and we ended up putting the ball in the back of the net and then maybe that helped Bolton because they didn't have anything to lose. They were ultra aggressive and they've got some good players anyway.

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“I actually think once we settled down after half-time I was much more pleased in the second half performance. We weren't making some of the errors we made in the first half, we just got a bit carried away.

“After we went 1-0 up, we started giving away silly fouls, picked up a booking and it was unnecessary. We didn't need to invite that sort of pressure on ourselves. We calmed ourselves down.

“I want energy and enthusiasm, and also calm heads. Sometimes that line is a bit blurred which is fine because I've been there as a player. You want to have the aggression, the energy and the enthusiasm.

“Sometimes you can tip over the edge, we want to be controlled in the terms of the way that we are aggressive. I thought we dealt with it much better as the game went on. To be honest for 99% of the season the boys have dealt with that really well.”

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