Portsmouth boss' tactical confession which will lead to goals being shipped against Sunderland, Sheffield Wednedsay, Charlton Athletic, Ipswich Town and Co

Danny Cowley admitted Gavin Bazunu’s sweeper keeper approach will cost Pompey goals this season.

Monday, 23rd August 2021, 4:42 pm

But the Blues head coach is adamant the reward outweighs the risk, when it comes to the Manchester City starlet’s fearless brand of goalkeeping.

Bazunu’s high positioning and ball-playing approach has been one of the big talking points of the impressive start to the season.

The 19-year-old has often operated way outside of his box, and at one stage against Doncaster Rovers was in range of the halfway line.

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That has allowed the Republic of Ireland international to showcase his ease with the ball at feet, as he picks up loose balls and offers an outlet to his team-mates.

Cowley acknowledged a high-stakes approach close to goal will almost certainly lead to goals being shipped this season.

But the man plotting the route to deliver success, feels the potential returns makes the philosophy being impressed worthwhile.

Cowley said: ‘They will do (opponents will score because of the approach).

Gavin Bazunu

‘Like anything there’s a risk, there’s a risk to anything you do.

‘You always look at it when you play from the back, if you lose the ball you will lose it close to your goal.

‘But we would say there’s a bigger risk in not doing it, there’s also risk and reward.

‘If you play from the back it’s important you build your defence behind what you do, that’s what we try to do.

‘I think you can also concede a goal if you just aimlessly kick the ball up the pitch, you lose the first contact and you then become really open and allow the opposition to play through you.

‘Sometimes that doesn’t get acknowledged as much. For us it’s about risk and reward and it’s about trying to get control, rhythm and dominance.’

Cowley explained the sight of Bazunu a long distance from his goal is not one which will necessarily be on show every week this season.

That will depend on the opposition, but having a player with his skillset in Pompey’s armoury gives the kind of options which explains why the Londoner was so keen to bring the keeper in.

Cowley added: ‘In some games, depending on the opposition's press, he may play a bit higher and in other games he could play really deep.

‘He could play really deep to make the pitch vertical for us to create the space beyond their front-line pressure.

‘He’s a really bright boy, tactically astute beyond his years. Incredible in fact, he’s going to be a top keeper.

‘It’s good to have him. We worked really hard in the summer because there were a lot of clubs who wanted him.

‘It took up pretty much my whole holiday with my family in Portugal, I spent every day on the phone to him, his agent and Manchester City trying to make it happen.

‘It was well worth it because he’s brilliant in this group.’

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