Portsmouth boss' message to former Millwall and Doncaster striker John Marquis after Crewe Alexandra horror show
Danny Cowley insisted his faith in John Marquis remains undiminished after his Crewe nightmare.
And the Pompey head coach backed the striker to show the strength of character to bounce back from his central role in his side’s failure to pick up three key play-off points, in the 0-0 draw at Gresty Road.
Marquis’ second-half spot-kick miss and key wasted headed opportunity were the defining factors in the failure to return to winning ways after the Burton Albion defeat.
The 28-year-old’s return to a Pompey side lacking attacking options was heralded, after a three-game ban for his red card at Shrewsbury.
But there was only frustration after the top scorer’s weak penalty was easily saved, after Ronan Curtis had been brought down.
Cowley only had words of support for Marquis, however, who was not fully fit after suffering an ankle injury with the Pompey head coach underlining his importance over the remainder of the season.
He said: ‘That’s the life of a number nine, it was great to have him back.
‘His hold-up and link-up play, his work against the ball. Don’t underestimate his energy against the ball and his pressing he gives at the top end of the pitch.
‘You have to miss them to score, that’s the life of a number nine.
‘We’ve got loads and loads of faith in John, though.
‘You have to be a pretty single minded to be a number nine, especially a number nine that’s played for Portsmouth and Millwall.
‘You look at the top end of the pitch and we have four attacking players, so he does (have a massive role to play) absolutely.’
Pompey’s sense of exasperation mounted as they failed to up the pressure on a side who shipped six goals at home against Oxford United on Saturday.
Cowley noted how that saw body language and distress signals emerge in certain quarters his side have to work on.
He added: ‘I want us to be positive. The only time I will moan at the players will be on work ethic, mind set or attitude.
‘See the best in each other.
‘If you watch Harry Kane he loves all of his players. He loves his seven, 11 or Sonny (Son Heung-Min). He knows they are the ones feeding him.
‘We’re human beings and if we treat each other well, people usually reciprocate.
‘I think there’s some work to do in terms of the positivity. Sometimes we are quick to be critical.
‘It’s hard. We want to do so well, but only a couple of them, get frustrated quite quickly.
‘I just want them to stay positive.
‘I don’t like negative body language, I don’t like anyone who is going to sap my energy.
‘I’ve got loads of energy and enthusiasm and I want us all to know how fortunate we are every single day.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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