Hart on cup win
We got that welcome cheer that we had been hoping for last night with a morale boosting 4-0 win over Stoke at Fratton - it is just a shame that it was only around half full! But what did Paul Hart make of it?
Lets take a look as we see what he told sky sports after the game, with some of my own musings also thrown in for added measure...
Hart on a 'mauling'
'We've been threatening for a while to hurt somebody and tonight the players got the reward for their performance and the chances they created.
'Obviously we need to take a little bit of that into our league performances. The players were determined to put a performance in.'
It was a good night, we created chances and took the vast majority of the best ones that we had - this is a definite welcome boost for us, and the 'strikers' that we have as goals boost confidence.
The only drawback, for me, was that Aruna Dindane could not get in on the act - although I thought he looked very lively and a threat from a wider role, a threat that could maybe have caused serious problems had he not been chopped down once or twice when he looked to be getting away?
Danny Webber showed his strikers instinct - Chix and I have said for a while that we feel he is the most 'natural striker' that we have and if we give him chances he will put more away than he misses, and he took his goal very well.
Hart on the clean sheet
'I was pleased to secure the clean sheet again. The more of those we rack up the better chance we have of winning matches. The number of chances we created was pleasing.'
Just like goals, clean sheets also boost morale and this is now back-to-back clean sheets, albeit with a fairly different side on each occasion.
My one concern is that we do not slip back into that 'lets ensure that we no two ways about it do not concede' attitude that we showed last season - being more content with not conceding and less about scoring, as that 'seemed' to be our thought process at Hull last weekend?
Lets get the balance right, if we do that we can be in business.
Hart on Freddy P
'The penny is starting to drop with Frederic. We have a lot of players who haven't played in the Premier League and it's a massive change for them.
There's an English attitude to the game that Frederic has to acquire.
'He was recommended to us. When we signed him we were absolutely brassic and free sounds good.
'His goalscoring record in France wasn't the best but we hope he'll make goals for people as well.'
The guy looked pretty good, he caused problems and used the ball well - he seemed to tail off towards the end and seemed out of it at the final whistle. Hopefully this was nothing more than tiredness as he put in a decent shift. Although that said his fitness levels should not be this low if this was the issue?
He has given Hart something to think about but I would be surprised if he came into the side ahead of Tommy Smith this weekend - unless Hart opts for Freddy P over Dindane?
Like I say, a morale boosting win - a clean sheet and the goals, which makes it 11 in 3 league cup games, at the other end will give all a lift. A place in the quarter finals makes it all the more sweeter. Lets just hope that the draw can be kind to us - in all honesty I think we do need to be drawn at home...
It is a good win but we must put it into context, this was very much a Stoke reserve side - most, if not just about all of these players are not playing regularly, if at all, in their 1st team so lets not get overly carried away with this.
Players that came in have given Hart something to think about but for me the only serious questions that Hart needs to answer are does he go with Freddy P or Smith - I would stick with Smith, and does Michael Brown return to the side to face Wigan or does Aaron Mokoena keep his place in the side that drew at Hull? Again I would go with Brown but I guess it also depends on Jamie O'Hara and Kevin-Prince Boateng, as both are 'said' to be carrying injuries...
That said Nadir Belhadj had his best game for sometime, and ALSO put in some very good defensive challenges - problem is Wigan will be tougher than Stoke and ask him more questions and we know the answers he often gives to a tough assignment...he gives away a penalty or makes or horrible mistake!
At least Hart has some things to ponder.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
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