Kenny Jackett: Portsmouth must rediscover absent attacking edge to conquer Sunderland

Kenny Jackett has challenged Pompey to rediscover their attacking swagger.

Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 6:40 pm
Pompey's 17-goal top-scorer Jamal Lowe is required to add to his tally for Thursday evening's visit of Sunderland. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues failed to test underused Sunderland keeper Jon McLaughlin during their League One play-off semi-final first-leg defeat.

According to Jackett, that shot-shy display epitomises recent form from a side now without victory in four matches.

To overcome the Black Cats at Fratton Park on Thursday night, the hosts are required to net at least twice – or to successfully emerge from a penalty shoot-out.

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Pompey’s boss acknowledges attacking capabilities have been below-par in recent weeks.

But Jackett is convinced that can be turned around against Sunderland to book a Wembley return.

He said: ‘For a few games, going forward we haven't necessarily been at our best.

‘I do think we have been competitive and tough, all those things we were in Saturday's game.

‘But, going forward as a side, have we been at our absolute maximum? Not necessarily.

‘Are we capable of getting to that Thursday night? Yes, we will need that to win.

‘I don’t think we have been poor defensively, but in attack we haven’t quite been as incisive or had those moments.

‘You can offer excuses, but for three or four games we haven’t quite flowed going forward and we haven’t got in behind people.

‘There are a number of games where we just haven’t had enough shots. That’s it, full stop, that’s the end product.

‘Whichever way you do it, whether in one pass or 15 passes, you need to get shots in and create chances and going forward for three or four games I don’t think we’ve quite had the same flow and been at our best.

‘Earlier in the season we’ve had spells defending and you still think one break and we could get a good chance. I have always had that feeling.

‘Whereas now there is a lot of effort for us going forward, but it is tough to get shots in.’

It should be remembered that Pompey finished as League One’s second-highest scorers.

In total this season, they have registered an impressive haul of 109 goals from 61 matches.

Jackett added: ‘We are capable of it. There will be fantastic energy at the stadium and it will transmit to the players.

‘We are solid but, going forward, have not necessarily been at our best, not incisive, not creating clear-cut chances.

‘That is what we need Thursday – and we are capable of it.’