Award nominee Whittingham tells tale of Pompey turnaround

Guy Whittingham celebrates with Simon Eastwood after the victory over Crewe. Picture: Joe Pepler
Guy Whittingham celebrates with Simon Eastwood after the victory over Crewe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Guy Whittingham has lifted the lid on Pompey’s end-of-season turnaround.

The Blues boss has told of the philosophies which have underpinned his side’s improved form.

That comes after Whittingham was short-listed for the League One manager-of-the-month award for March – with the winner named tomorrow.

Whittingham’s efforts have been recognised after his team ended their 23-game search for a win last month at Crewe.

That kicked off a run of three wins, two draws and a single unfortunate defeat at Leyton Orient.

Pompey have now lost just once in their past nine games as they go to high-flying Brentford on Saturday.

But Whittingham insisted there are no big secrets or revelations when it comes to the improved form.

Simply putting the graft in and a relatively consistent starting 11 has made all the difference.

He said: ‘I wouldn’t say it’s come from nowhere (the run we’re on).

‘It’s come out of a situation where we hadn’t won in 23.

‘You always look at that and wonder where the next win is going to come from, when are we going to get back to where we should be, and it’s just hard work.

‘There’s no other way of saying it, it’s hard work.

‘There’s getting people in and that’s hard work. There’s making sure the players you get in are the right people, there’s making sure when you’re doing training you’re getting the right people.

‘And it’s making sure when you look at opposition, how to work them and how to play them, you’re making sure you pick the right team and the tactics are right.

‘It’s not a surprise to us it’s happened because we knew as soon as we got a settled side we’d be able to do something.’

Whittingham pinpointed the 2-1 win at Crewe as the undoubted catalyst for the recent run.

That created the belief which has allowed Pompey’s consistency to flourish.

The caretaker boss said: ‘I think when you look back to see where it changed, it changed at Crewe because that just gave everybody so much confidence – the away win there.

‘So when you’ve got that confidence, as I said before, it’s a big asset for a footballer to have.

‘And so I think that sort of feeling just went on and on through the team and obviously the decent couple of home performances – and everybody can see the spirit that’s within the side

‘That comes from winning and good performances.

‘You say to players that consistency is key.

‘Consistently good performances mean you’ll get consistently good results and that’s all we’re trying to do – be consistent.

‘The players for the last three games and away as well at Doncaster, where we got a good result.

‘Preston, where we dug it out, and even Leyton Orient, where we lost the game 1-0 but produced a good performance.

‘And even when you’re not playing well, if you can work hard and keep the goals tally against down, then you’ve got a chance of winning games. That’s consistently what we’ve done well.’