‘No problem, whatsoever’: The ongoing question over Portsmouth skipper’s discipline as former Luton Town, Bristol City and Lincoln City man hits form of Fratton career

The Wales international's discipline has been doubted - but the Pompey boss has answered those questioning the in-form midfielder's approach

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John Mousinho has backed Joe Morrell’s levels of discipline amid a new high watermark for his Pompey form. 

And the Blues boss has underlined he wants his players to continue playing ‘on the edge’ to get the best out of their performances.

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Morrell is producing form which is now being recognised as the best since his arrival at Fratton Park in the summer of 2021, with his displays at a consistently high level.

The stand-in skipper still has a question mark over the red mist descending, however, with four dismissals picked up in his time at PO4 - while also getting his marching orders for Wales in June.

A clash at Cambridge last month was the latest incident under the microscope, as Morrell tussled with Michael Morrison and Ryan Bennett after Abu Kamara was adjudged to have fouled Jack Stevens.

Mousinho gave the 26-year-old his backing, however, over that moment and his conduct this term.

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He said: ‘The way I read that was the Abu nicked the ball off the keeper and challenged him late.

‘Because it’s the keeper there’s a big furore. Fine it was a booking, no problem.

‘He didn’t book him quickly and it caused a problem.By the time Abu is talking to the referee nothing has been done, so Michael Morrison and Bennett come up and they are there.

‘We had a 20-year-old kid on loan from Norwich there, with Bennett and Morrison. So Joe decided he was going to support his team-mate.

‘I had no problem with that whatsoever.

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‘Maybe he should have just gone and got Abu away, but it’s easy for me to say.

I was quite hot-headed as a player as well and might have done the same thing.

‘We might want to cut that one out, but at least it showed a bit of togetherness and that he did care and wanted to help his team-mate out.

‘By and large this season his discipline has been excellent.’

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Morrell has spoken honestly about his on-pitch conduct and having to marry that with the demands of representing a club like Pompey.

Both player and boss acknowledged Morrell’s red card at MK Dons last term was overstepping the mark, when tangling with wing-back Daniel Harvie in unnecessary fashion.

But Mousinho accepts punishment will follow for his players if they perform in the manner required.

He added: ‘I’ve got a problem with Joe’s red card at MK last season. That’s where it lies with him.

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‘I haven’t got a problem or an issue with what he did when he got sent off against Peterborough.

‘Naturally he’s going to pick up yellow cards because of the way we play.

‘Most of our yellow cards are because we want to play on the edge, we want our players to be aggressive and we want our players to play one on one. Unfortunately we will pick up yellow cards.’