Portsmouth look leggy – but boss insists players are not tired

Pompey beat Rochdale. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey beat Rochdale. Picture: Joe Pepler
Have your say

Kenny Jackett played down the suggestion tiredness blunted Pompey’s cutting edge at Rochdale.

The Blues edged into the FA Cup third round following a last-gasp triumph at Spotland yesterday.

The visitors were clinging on for a Fratton Park replay when, against the run of play, substitute Andre Green’s deflected shot earned a 1-0 win.

It was harsh on Rochdale, who were excellent during a second half in with Pompey noticeably lacked spark and appeared worryingly leggy.

Jackett has largely named the same starting XI during a campaign which has seen his side top League One for more than two months.

On Sunday, Ben Close replaced the injured Tom Naylor for an enforced change.

But Pompey’s boss is not convinced tiredness played a part in the manner of their 1-0 success.

He said: ‘Maybe they were tired, but there is no necessary reason why they should be.

‘I tend to think we played better first half and they played better second and I don't necessarily put that down to tiredness - but I’ll have a think about it.

‘Rochdale were the better side in the second half, I did think that, and dominated very well,, whether it was through (our) tiredness, I’m not sure.

‘I think generally, it (tiredness) is used a little bit too easily, you tell yourself you are tired but have to be determined and also the opposition are entitled of have spells.

‘Rochdale are a good side and give you lots of problems.

‘Maybe it’s a dip, you look at everything from every angle.

‘However, we played well and looked a big threat in the first half, yet obviously didn’t score, we weren't clinical enough.

‘Generally this season, in those periods when we’ve had breaks like that, we’ve got one or two goals, which changes the dynamic of it. It didn’t happen Sunday - but we still won.’

The victory comes in a hectic schedule of games for the Blues which at least has not been worsened by the need for a replay.

Pompey now find themselves in the third round of the FA Cup for only the second time in the past seven seasons.

The previous instance was during the 2015-16 campaign, when Paul Cook’s troops eliminated Championship Ipswich in a Fratton replay after a draw at Portman Road – before losing to Bournemouth at the next hurdle

The draw takes place tonight, with Premier League and Championship teams entering the equation.

Jackett, though, is not concerning himself with gunning for any particular opposition.

He added: ‘The league is our priority, but I’m looking forward to the draw.

‘It can be advantageous if we can get a favourable draw.

‘That’s excitement for supporters, experience for the players and, after that, sometimes finance for the club which then goes towards its overall progression.

‘There’s nothing you can do about the draw.

‘There's enough to think about, enough to plan, as a manager without concerning yourself with things you can’t affect.’