Whittingham: Pompey will keep entertaining

Guy Whittingham. Picture: Joe Pepler
Guy Whittingham. Picture: Joe Pepler

Guy Whittingham has vowed not to rip up Pompey’s entertaining brand of football in the search for clean sheets.

The Blues have let slip five leads in six league matches this season as they struggle for defensive resilience.

On one hand they have the joint-second worst defensive record in League Two.

On the other they are the joint-second highest scorers on their travels.

It is the yin and yang side to Pompey’s games which have both delighted and infuriated early in the campaign.

Whittingham recognises the necessity of tightening up at the back ahead of visiting sixth-placed Burton tomorrow.

But the boss has no intention of easing down on the attacking approach to achieve that.

He said: ‘We are in the entertainment industry.

‘We will absolutely not change, we will play this way and get it right.

‘Ask any manager, would he rather win the game 1-0 or win it 3-2? I would rather win it 3-2.

‘The issue is, of course, we are not winning games 3-2 at the moment.

‘But I think we have to try to entertain people, I really do, and that is what I want my football teams to do – entertain.

‘We have to remember what standard we are at to be entertaining and to be secure in ourselves we are not going to get sucker-punched.

‘It is finding that balance.

‘We are a new group. I think our football – playing-wise – has probably gone better than we thought it would do as in the style we are playing when going forward.

‘But, again, the defensive side of things hasn’t been as good as we wanted it to be and that is being looked at.’

Pompey fans don’t need reminding their previous three away league matches have all finished 2-2.

In all of them they have let leads slip, two of which – Accrington and Cheltenham – in the final few minutes.

The defence continues to remain a concern and Whittingham possesses his own theories as to why the goals keep being leaked.

‘We spent the end of the Cheltenham game playing a 4-3-2-1,’ said Whittingham.

‘If you think about Accrington and Mansfield, it was 4-4-2 – so I don’t think it is anything to do with the shape.

‘It is what we are doing in the shape that matters and that is what we have been trying to work on.

‘It is just getting through to the players what you want them to do depending on the system they are in during the game, whether it is the first 10 minutes or last 15 minutes.

‘At Mansfield we got headers on the ball, Bondz (N’Gala) did, Sonny (Bradley) did, Joe (Devera) did, defending our areas fantastically well.

‘What we are not doing so well is relieving the pressure enough in that last 10 minutes or so.

‘To do that you have to be braver on the ball and keep the ball better.’