Portsmouth boss insists fans should question his tactics but believes 90-minute displays against Sunderland, Plymouth, Charlton justify game plan

Danny Cowley believes fans are right to question his tactics – but quickly defended the use of a back three in Pompey’s past six league games.

By Mark McMahon
Thursday, 21st October 2021, 5:24 pm

The formation change was instigated after the Blues’ 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Cambridge in mid-September with creativity and goals a cause for concern.

Only four league goals were conceded up until the switch, with six scored at the other end.

But since it’s roll out, Pompey have conceded 14 in the division – with eight of those coming in their two most recent matches against Rotherham and Ipswich.

And with four loses, two draws and a solitary win to show for their efforts in that time, the Blues now find themselves 17th in the table and closer to the relegation zone that the play-off places.

That’s led to growing concern among the Fratton faithful and criticism being directed in Cowley’s direction.

The head coach is adamant that fans are entitled to their opinion and should voice their frustrations – particularly as such a time when things are clearly not going right.

Yet he believes, despite results, Pompey are playing well since the change in formation and have demonstrated their capabilities against some the division’s top sides.

Pompey boss Danny Cowley

And he reiterated, the main problem has been the players’ response when things have gone against them.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to Accrington, Cowley said: ‘You look back at our performances since (we went to a back three) and no doubt people question tactics and rightly so - they should question everything.

‘People are within their rights to do so with the disappointing run that we've been on.

‘But since we've been with a back three I think you can say we played well against Plymouth, who are top of the league now.

‘We were excellent against Charlton – a game, nine out of 10 times we would have won had we taken our chances.

‘We then beat Sunderland 4-0, playing with a back three, who I anticipate will be right up at the top of this division.

‘And then for 55 minutes against Rotherham and 40-odd minutes against Ipswich, we were more than competitive in that system.

‘Normally, if it's just tactical, then you don’t have that dominance in games and that control in games that we've had.

‘Our weakness has been we haven't sustained it and haven't done well enough when things and went against us.

‘Certainly in the last two games our response has been nowhere near where it needs to be and we first of all have to be aware of that, then try to influence it.’