They’re doubting our minerals and substance: Portsmouth challenged to show they're not soft touch after rolling over against Ipswich Town and Rotherham United
Danny Cowley has demanded his side show they’re not easily bullied as they go to Accrington.
And the Pompey boss has called on the Blues to show the missing mental toughness which has contributed to their recent League One struggles.
Cowley admitted sides will attempt to exploit a perceived lack of physicality from his players, after a run of just one win in 12.
Those shortcomings were evident as eight goals were shipped in successive collapses against Rotherham and Ipswich Town.
Now Pompey face a testing trip to Accrington, to take on a side who are certain to present a muscular test to their guests.
Cowley said: ‘I’m really looking forward to Accrington, I wish I could play.
‘I’m 43 today, but with the feeling I’ve got right now I think I could!
‘As professional sportspeople you spend your whole life proving people wrong. This is a great chance to prove people wrong.
‘Ipswich played in a certain way to exploit what they perceive to be our weaknesses.
‘Everyone’s doubting us. They’re doubting our minerals and substance. That really hurts me.
‘Doubt us technically and tactically, but please don’t doubt our minerals. It hurts.
‘Fight: We have to find it.’
When assessing the reasons for Pompey’s recent struggles, Cowley is certain the issue lies with the players’ mental toughness over any tactical issues.
The Londoner made it clear that is not a case of him eschewing blame, with getting his players to show their strength of character part of his remit as boss.
He added: ‘I’ve always been able to outfight, outrun and outwork the opponent.
‘Every time when my teams have done that in my career as a manager we’ve always won.
‘You can talk tactics and the technical part. The higher you go, the more the tactical part of the game counts.
‘In League One it will be somewhere depending on the game. As much as 10 per cent, which is a big amount considering winning or losing can be one per cent.
‘If we had no control, no rhythm or no dominance in games we’d say, because I try to tell the truth.
‘It’s as much of a responsibility to get the team right mentally and physically as tactically.
‘So I’m not passing the buck, but the team hasn’t been in the right place mentally.
‘So we have to draw that and bring that out of them.’
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