Portsmouth boss reveals lofty ambition as side amazingly leave Liverpool, Leeds, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Co in their wake

Pompey are officially the high-press kings of English football - but for Danny Cowley this is just the start.

By Jordan Cross
Saturday, 27th November 2021, 4:55 am

And the Blues boss has told how making good on a stated ambition to be the hardest working club in world football, is underpinning the energy levels turning his team’s season around.

Even the godfathers of the approach who revolutionised the game - Jurgen Klopp and Marcelo Bielsa - are currently seeing their Leeds and Liverpool sides left in the shade by Cowley’s men.

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The 43-year-old believes his side’s lofty status is a landmark when it comes to the club’s on-pitch DNA being developed.

But Cowley is clear it’s only a milestone - with a lot of distance still to travel.

He said: ‘We’ll celebrate it, but it’s about winning games and getting the most points.

‘If we get to the top of the league we’ll celebrate it then.

Pompey are relentlessly pressing harder than any other team in England

‘They’re running hard. That’s what they should be doing.

‘Our supporters want that - and they drive our energy.

‘But it shows we’re working and we’re making progress in the way we want to play - but there’s still a long way to go.

‘Andy Redman is one of our directors, and I asked him what the vision was when I came here.

‘He said he wanted Portsmouth to be the hardest working club in the world.

‘I liked that and it resonated with me.‘We’re a long way from that, but we’re a work in progress.’

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Cowley saw Tuesday’s win at Lincoln as an impressive example of Pompey’s developing philosophy being taken on board by his players.

He added: ‘We like to press early and I was pleased with the group on Tuesday, because it’s not easy to press that aggressively away from home.

‘Obviously the system changed as well and it was a slightly different pressing system - two and one with wing-backs jumping, so we had five on the front line.

‘We didn’t want Lincoln to get into their rhythm, because if they are allowed to get into their rhythm they have some good rotations, patterns and get a flow in their performance and start enjoying their game.

‘We didn’t want that, we wanted to disrupt it at source.

‘We were quite brave in how we played, leaving them three on three at times defensively.

‘But we felt it was the right way and players like Ronan Curtis had a huge work output.

‘His affected the game with expected goals, goal creation, assists and chances he had, but it was more than that – it was his work for the team. It was a really selfless performance.’

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