Pompey set to continue ugly approach

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

PAUL COOK is preparing to continue with an ugly approach at Exeter.

But the Pompey boss explained he is loathe to go too far down the road of playing a direct game, as his side travel to St James Park.

Cook’s side look to pick up back-to-back wins in the league for just the fourth time this season tonight.

The Blues boss has built a reputation for an expansive footballing philosophy, which has been employed in his time at Fratton Park.

Pompey went down the route of less subtle approach, however, to pick up a big three points against Cambridge United on Saturday.

And with Gary Roberts, Adam McGurk and Michael Smith in the treatment room, that’s set to continue against the Grecians.

Cook said: ‘We’re trying to play the game the right way.

‘We are becoming victims, let’s have it right, of that.

‘That’s what the supporters are missing out on.

‘We are trying to play the game in the correct way.

‘We are trying to bring our players up the right way – with the thought of winning football matches the right way.

‘Unfortunately, there are a lot of teams who don’t want to do that.

‘That’s the reality of the game. We have to cop on to that a bit.

‘We have to have the quality to win games. Even if we play like them.

‘It might not be as enjoyable to watch to allow us to win a few games.

‘We will go that way a little bit, especially with players out injured.’

Ironically, Cook goes up against a manager tonight who largely preaches a similar approach to him in Exeter’s Paul Tisdale.

They have both stuck to philosophies of passing play, although the Pompey boss has now indicated he’s prepared to step away from that.

Cook knows, however, there is a danger of confusing his players if they go too far down the route of direct football.

‘It’s all different aspects,’ he said.

‘We’ve got a philosophy we believe and we like.

‘But every now and then we might have to come away from that a bit to win games.

‘Now and again we have to change.

‘People think we won’t change. We changed at Chesterfield.

‘We did for a month. We went 4-4-2 and got the ball forward quicker.

‘We will change, but can’t keep doing it because the players won’t know whether they are coming or going.

‘It’s not just a change of philosophy but the reality of the pitches we play on, too.

‘Once the sun comes out they usually pick up. We’ll see.

‘We have a belief and the players have brought into it. If we abandon it the players will doubt us.

‘I don’t think it’s good to keep chopping and changing systems.

‘I believe you have to be very good at what you do.’