The press which impresses - Marcus Harness explains Portsmouth's eye-catching new 'weapon' in drive for success

It’s the style change Marcus Harness is convinced can be a key Pompey ‘weapon’ at Fratton Park.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 1:00 pm
Marcus Harness is under instructions to press high up the pitch - and feels it is reaping its rewards. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

Certainly the home unveiling of Danny Cowley’s high pressing system created a favourable first impression on the Blues faithful.

Pompey claimed a 2-0 success over Crewe on Saturday, yet it was the manner of that triumph which afterwards had many talking.

Pompey’s attacking quartet of Harness, John Marquis, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild and Ronan Curtis were encouraged to close down the Railwaymen deep in their own half.

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It was an intensity which enabled the Blues to dominate the visitors’ half, while forcing them into errors in possession.

And Harness believes it can bring out the best in the Blues.

He told The News: ‘When teams try to play out, we are straight on them and attempt to make it very difficult.

‘No-one is going to come here and get an easy game. Even if we don’t win every week, no-one is going to get an easy game.

‘If we can keep that intensity, it will help our home form a lot.

‘The manager and Nicky are telling us that if you can press it early and win the ball in their half, you don’t have to do the 60-70 yard runs back, which keeps you fresh to attack again.

‘The pressing side of it is something we are really buying into.

‘Saturday was no accident, that’s what we’ve been working on all pre-season. You could see it against Peterborough and then Crewe.

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‘Even with Championship teams, if you press them like that then it makes it very difficult.

‘Pressing like that is going to be a good weapon for us this season. Hopefully it can help us get a lot of points and score a lot of goals.’

Cowley represents the second manager Harness has worked under during his time at Fratton Park.

It was Kenny Jackett who recruited him from Burton in July 2018 for a fee in the region of £800,000.

And the 25-year-old acknowledges the current style of play contrasts significantly with that employed by the boss now at Leyton Orient.

Harness added: ‘Under the previous manager, it was a case of sat in on the edge of our box a bit, then win the ball and break. We counter-attacked a lot.

‘But here we’re looking to win it high up the pitch, just staying in their half as much as we can.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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