Cook hopes to have solved Pompey set-piece woes
Paul Cook hopes to have finally eradicated Pompey's set-piece woes.
But the Blues boss knows defensively they still require tightening up to collect those elusive clean sheets.
Goals conceded from set-pieces have been a frustrating aspect of Pompey’s performances this season.
Most recently against Cambridge United, Luke Berry finished from close range after Mark Roberts had headed a free-kick back across goal.
At Barnet it was a John Akinde penalty, while Francois Zoko netted for Yeovil following a corner.
Yet Ollie Watkins’ last-gasp leveller for Exeter on Tuesday night came from open play, with Pompey defending poorly.
Cook, though, is hopeful at last their dead-ball inadequacies are behind them.
He said: ‘At Exeter it came from open play, which is unusual for us. Almost every goal we concede at the minute is a set-piece.
‘Penalty, free-kick, corner, it has kept happening.
‘There was a goal from open play against Bournemouth in the FA Cup, before that Jordan Bowery scored a great goal from the inside right for Oxford United.
‘But we have been conceding poor goals from set-pieces.
‘Against Cambridge, Gareth Evans gave away a free-kick.
‘Marc McNulty did the same at Ipswich away, there are too many of them. Free-kick then goal.
‘Stevenage was a throw-in, Carlisle was a wonder strike, but it was a goalkeeper from a corner at Morecambe, you couldn’t make it up.
‘I don’t remember many good goals.
‘Making mistakes leads to improvement and experience,
‘I’m just hoping we have now learnt.’