Pompey boss Cook tries to take pressure off players as Stags game looms

Paul Cook - Pic By James WilliamsonPaul Cook - Pic By James Williamson
Paul Cook - Pic By James Williamson
Portsmouth manager Paul Cook this week tried to take the pressure off his players ahead of Saturday's visit of Mansfield Town after some poor recent home results.

Pompey have lost their last two League home games as well as an FA Cup clash with Wycombe, though did beat Bristol Rovers there 1-0 in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night.

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Cook, aware of the pressure on him and the players to get promoted this season at such a big club at this level, said: “We were very disappointed with our FA Cup performance last weekend.

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“The most important thing now for our players is to find themselves and be the players that we want them to be, even if that means we draw on Saturday or lose on Saturday. There are 31 League games to go.

“We drew with Carlisle first game of the season. If we could play half as good as that I’ll be happy.

“We have to make sure we are the most aggressive team on the pitch, we are the most dominant team on the pitch, we have the most chances on the pitch.

“We have got to turn Fratton Park into what we want it to be. You look at the last couple of results against Notts County and Doncaster, that first half performance against Notts County was everything I wanted it to be, but we lost the game.”

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Cook added: “You can feel in training, there are always atmospheres around clubs. When you have a club that’s going in the right direction you can always feel that atmosphere, when you have a bit of negativity about you feel it.

“It’s important to banish those demons as quick as you can.

“For our lads we’ve got to make sure the football club itself doesn’t become the problem.

“If you look at the turnover we’ve had in players in three and a half years there is a balanced argument that that could be the case.”

On how he felt Stags might approach their visit on Saturday, he said: “There’s two ways.

“They might come and have a go and try to win the game and they will come and play to hit us on the break. That’s their decision

“The manager is doing really well and they have a strong squad.”