Pompey 2 Cambridge 1: Cook targets flying finish

Pompey celebrate an important win. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey celebrate an important win. Picture: Joe Pepler

PAUL COOK believes Pompey can surprise their rivals with a powerful League Two finale.

And the Blues boss explained he’s prepared to sacrifice his footballing principles to ensure it happens.

Pompey picked up an important three points as they grafted to a 2-1 win over Cambridge United on Saturday.

That lifted Cook’s side to fifth in the table and buried the disappointment of the mid-week defeat at Barnet.

With the gap nine points to Oxford United in the third automatic promotion berth, Cook’s not giving up on bridging that distance with 14 games left.

He feels his side are capable of delivering a memorable run.

Cook said: ‘We needed that win. The club needed the win.

‘The supporters needed the win.

‘When we dropped to eighth there was criticism for everyone. We’ve been there for a few days. We’ve been in the top few the whole season.

‘Now we’re fifth again and I want to finish the season as strongly as we can.

‘I feel there are more wins in us. I feel there is a run in us which can take everyone by surprise.

‘But speaking about it is no good. What we have to do is put actions in place at Exeter.

‘I do think there’s a run in us. I do. I really feel it.

‘You can’t put yourself under more pressure at this club because it’s there.

‘There’s a run in us and, with 14 games to go, I think other sides think there’s a run in us. What we need to do now is keep believing.

‘The negativity has been good because it’s healthy sometimes. Have we over-achieved or under-achieved? That’s a debate.

‘I, as manager, want to finish strongly.

‘We’ve had a good Cup run and are fifth in the league with a good chance of the play-offs and an outside chance of catching those above us.

‘I believe there’s a shock in every division and I don’t see why that can’t be us.’

After struggling with Barnet’s strength, Pompey passed the physical test posed by Cambridge.

That meant being more direct at times – something Cook is prepared to continue doing.

He said: ‘I felt we won ugly.

‘We want to win with flair and play the right way, but sometimes you must win.

‘If we can tidy this up with a win at Exeter the whole emphasis will be about us being on the front foot.

‘I’m very prepared to wane on my philosophies to win the game.

‘I was very disappointed at Barnet. Sometimes our approach is not met by others.

‘The easiest way to play is how these teams play. Maybe we’ll try for a bit.

‘Today we sit on 52 points with 14 games to go. We’re doing alright. Our biggest critics would say we’re doing okay.

‘What we have to do is keep our focus on Exeter and see what we can do there.’