Portsmouth boss details what comes next after opening game to savour against Ipswich

Danny Cowley celebrated a Pompey bow to savour and vowed: The hard work starts now.

Sunday, 21st March 2021, 4:50 pm

And the new man at the helm for the Blues enthused over the potential of his squad and the margins for improvement, after a 2-1 success over Pau Cook’s Ipswich in their maiden game in charge.

It proved a perfect afternoon as goals from Tom Naylor and Marcus Harness gave Pompey a come-from-behind win, and a first success after conceding first for nearly two years.

The win came with every other side in the top nine places failing to pick up three points, to see Cowley’s side move up seventh in the table and end a run of six games without a win.

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The impact of the new head coach and his brother, Nicky, was immediately evident with the team putting in a high-energy performance on the front foot - and seeing the game out in the opponent’s half.

Those changes came after just one session with the players, with Cowley seeing much that can be worked on - as he intricately detailed the areas for immediate focus.

He said: ‘There’s loads to work on, loads and loads. That’s the great thing.

Pompey celebrate on Saturday

‘There’s absolutely so much we can do to improve, so we will absolutely be working hard just to try to get everybody connected.

‘Certainly we want to free them up in possession and be a little more creative, create more chances and do that with our counter-attacking work.

‘We love to counter-attack and attack quickly, but teams are going to come here and get behind the ball quickly.

‘So reduce the touches, increase the ball speed and increase the touches for the player on the ball and add penetration at the top end of the pitch.

‘You’ll only get that positional discipline at the top end of the pitch and that plus one on their defensive line if you move the ball quickly.

‘If you don’t move the ball quickly, attacking players start coming towards the ball and wanting to do it for the back end of the pitch.

‘I thought we sped up the play but at times forced it, and didn’t quite understand when to play quickly and when to counter.

‘We didn’t quite realise when to say no, they’re set up behind the ball so we need to set up a positional attack, get our width, low touches, ball speed and penetrative runs.

‘We didn’t quite see that, but these things take time.

‘So we’re going to work on that going into Shrewsbury and as the weeks unfold I think we’ll see some improvement gradually in the team.’

The Cowleys are looking forward to getting their teeth into working with the players this week, after watching their first 90 minutes of action.

And much of their anticipation about what lies ahead is born out of the qualities they can see in the existing squad.

Cowley added: ‘I see a really good group who are together, want to play well and be successful with work ethic.

‘They are the things you can’t give people.

‘The technical and tactical bits you can give them, so that was a real positive.‘I love to work with players technically and tactically to improve them.

‘But more important than anything it’s character - and I think we have a group with big hearts.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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