A Change Of Tactics?

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 16 November 2010
Steve Cotterill has bemoaned the fact that Pompey have been conceding too many goals in the local news today and has hinted that he may change Pompey's style of play to address the problem.

But is it Pompey's style of play that is really causing the defensive errors? I believe that the goals have been conceded due to the players on the pitch rather than Steve Cotterill's attacking tactics.

Carl Dickinson, for example, hasn't shone since his arrival from Stoke and time and time again this season, opposition players have taken him on and got the better of him. Would the same have happened in Hermann Hreidarsson was playing in his position?

Ricardo Rocha also made a huge difference when he came on against Doncaster on Saturday. Sonko may be dominant in the air but every other aspect of his game is questionable and his distribution is awful.

The other members of our defence are also not without blame for some of our goals but come Saturday at Barnsley, we could well have what I believe to be our strongest back four playing.

Greg Halford's loan has been extended so I expect him to play at right back with Mokoena and Rocha in the centre and the Hermannator at left back. That is a back four that is capable of playing the ball from the back rather than hopelessly lumping the ball upfield like Dickinson and Sonko do.

A change in philosophy is something I don't particularly want to see. I have enjoyed watching Pompey for the majority of the season, particularly since the 6-1 mauling of Leicester and I go to watch football to be entertained first and foremost.

Therefore, I don't particularly want to see Pompey take a "safety first" approach that worked well when Paul Hart took charge from Tony Adams back in 2009, but it was absolutely dire to watch and could hardly be classed as "entertainment".

It's not as if a more direct style of play would particularly help us anyway. How many tall players do we have in the squad that we can hoof the ball to? Kitson, Kanu, Sonko and Halford stand out but the former two are better with their feet and the latter two won't be found too far up the pitch.

Long ball may work for teams like Stoke and Bolton who have had plenty of success with their "winning football" but with the players at our disposal, there is no reason why Pompey shouldn't be able to outplay the majority of the teams in this division without resulting to hoof ball.

So, Steve, I would say that you should stop being "fed up" with Pompey being "the entertainers" and instead coach the individual defenders to cut the mistakes out of their game.

After all, the late, great Brian Clough once said that if God wanted football to be played in the air, he would have put a pitch up there.

Stick to your guns because it won't just be for the fans' benefit, but the team's benefit too.

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 18th November 15:00

Portsmouth 1 - 0 Southend United

Last game - Match Centre


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