Portsmouth boss hits back at 'dinosaur' jibes from likes of Bristol Rovers boss as he details tactical approach

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Danny Cowley laughed off the ‘dinosaur’ knockers as he vowed to continue setting Pompey up for success this season.

And the Blues boss outlined in detail how he is tailoring his tactical approach to suit his players amid a positive start to the season.

Cowley will aim to build on a positive first 11 games this term, as they take on Charlton Athletic in the sky-televised clash on Monday night.

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The head coach has operated with two strikers in what has been deemed a 4-4-2 formation this season - an approach which has gone down well with supporters.

Not all people agree that is the right way to go, however, with Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton among those to dismiss the way Cowley operates.

Cowley said: ‘That’s what happens in football.

‘People can have opinions on a building or a piece of woodwork - it doesn’t mean it’s a very good opinion!

‘People see our formation as a 4-4-2.

Danny Cowley.Danny Cowley.
Danny Cowley.

‘We played a 4-4-2 against Newport and Crawley with a similar cohort of players to Aston Villa under-21s.

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‘It felt in those games as if something was missing slightly, so we just tweaked it slightly really.

‘Some people may have seen that it was more like a back three really.

‘Ronan (Curtis) was out high and wide and we narrowed up Zak (Swanson), Denver (Hume) was playing on the outside and Michael (Jacobs) was coming in.

‘Reeco (Hackett) was playing as a 10 coming into that right half-space.

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‘Then Tunni (Tunnicliffe) and Jay (Mingi) were playing on different lines.

‘It’s tactical really against what you see in the opponent and getting the connections right.'

Cowley has repeatedly spoken of not getting mired down with talk of formations and rigidity of one specific approach.

He feels being malleable in the areas players take up on the pitch will help get the best out of them.

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Cowley added: ‘When people talk about formations, it’s why I say don’t get bogged down with them.

‘It’s not really a 4-4-2 but you can call it that if you want.

‘We call it a 4-4-2 with the boys because we don’t want to make a big thing of it!

‘Ryan (Tunnicliffe), for example, feels much more comfortable playing as an eight than a six.

‘Denver feels much more comfortable playing as a wing-back.

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‘So you tip the team slightly to allow that, because Michael Jacobs naturally comes inside anyway.

‘It’s all movable and they can go five yards this way or five yards that.

‘Sometimes it just creates a better connection.

‘It’s our job to set the players up for success and get them on the piece of grass where they feel most confident.’

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