Luke Varney assessed the wreckage of Michael Appleton’s first game in charge and said: We’re ready to work hard for him to put things right.
The new boss has been in the job just over a week but was not impressed with his new side’s performance as they turned in one of their worst displays of the season.
But while at first glimpse, Appleton’s touchline style is not demonstrative and he showed little animation throughout the game, the Pompey striker revealed that the new manager made his feelings clear in the confines of the dressing room.
And Appleton, who will really get to grips with the job this week, issued a stark warning that there will be some serious work for the players this week.
Varney said: ‘He’s not a shouter but you can see that he takes it on board.
‘He told us his bite is worse than his bark and it shows he is watching you.
‘He will make his decisions and if lads are left out, he will make no bones about it.
‘He said “I don’t care about reputations, the best 11 will play” and that’s what we all want.
‘We want to get a settled side and work hard for him.
‘We’ve got to become more solid and the gaffer has tried to get that into his plan as soon as he’s come in.
‘It’s quite hard to get that plan going in a week’s work.
‘He said “be ready to come in and work”. We will be looking forward to doing that.’
It’s a difficult task for a new manager to come in when a team has been achieving results.
And Appleton opted for continuity in his first game, allowing coaches Stuart Gray and Guy Whittingham to lead training last week as the new structure finds its feet.
But now he has taken charge of his first game, things could change after such an insipid display from his troops.
Varney said: ‘He has overseen things in his first week because you can’t come in and start shouting.
‘You don’t really need to do that, I don’t think.
‘Guy and Stuart still took training and the gaffer put his word in now and again.
‘We’re looking forward to him taking over a bit in the next couple of weeks, putting his plans into action and hopefully the lads will take it on board.
‘The gaffer has only been in a week so it’s going to be hard to implement his plans in that time.
‘But we’re looking forward to working on it next week ahead of a hard game at home.
‘He’s got some different ideas and that obviously freshens the place up.’
Varney, meanwhile, bemoaned another dreadful start to a game from the team as they found themselves behind inside the opening two minutes.
He said: ‘It was so sloppy. In fact, it was far too sloppy but now we have to go back to the drawing board to try to sort things out.
‘When you concede goals in the second minute and just before half-time, they are ridiculous times to concede.
‘With the experience we’ve got, it shouldn’t be happening.’