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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Cotterill reflects on Derby defeat

It was something that was always going to happen, even if it 'might' - sometimes - have seemed like it would not, but the inevitable taste of defeat was felt last night when Derby, quite rightly, ended our unbeaten run with a fairly convincing win.

Steve Cotterill also agreed that we 'got what we deserved', although - and I would not quite agree - he felt that the 2nd half showing was much better and a full 90 like that would have seen us get something: 'our first half performance was poor - that's as poor as we've been for a long time. We just didn`t get going today until the second half.

'In the second half we could have got something out of the game, but by then it was a little bit too late.

'I know we might have had a penalty in the second half. But that might be clutching at straws. I don't think we worked hard enough in the first half to earn our luck in the second.

'I think the linesman gave Derby's penalty, not the referee. But when you have 29,000 people screaming for it, that's what happens. I think at home that's the kind of penalty we would get, so I've got no quibbles about it.

'Derby were the better team than us whether they scored from a penalty or not. We have to be magnanimous in defeat.

'We had a bad 45 minutes. If we had played the way we did in the second half for the whole game, we wouldn't have lost the game, for sure. We created chances.'

Pretty much from the first minute the tone of our performance to follow was shown - we lacked any real sense of urgency and seemed content with 'complaining' about everything, which I find a little concerning.

By this I mean, on the whole, when we were in the administration hole we rarely moaned, groaned, grumbled or complained about things, yet - NOT that we are now in the clear - now that we have come out of admin it would be easy to think that we are now 'ok' and 'everything is fine' so it is easy to forget that we are still a long way from being able to compete financially so all in all have to make do with what we have.

Maybe some are starting to think that we now 'should' be able to bring in a little more to be a touch more competitive?

I am not sure if this has come across exactly as I mean it too, but hopefully people get the jist of what I am saying? Perhaps in a nutshell I mean that completely united way of thinking, that admin brought, has slipped away slightly because we are no longer in this...

Anyway, back to the football I have to say that I was impressed with Derby, they played highly entertaining football and always looked a threat coming forward - whilst always defending well.

Without taking anything away from them perhaps our own shortcomings made them look better - the countless times that we gave the ball away, and virtually every player was guilty of this, was criminal. This makes it too easy for the opponents.

Ok, granted we may well lack that strength in depth, but the alarming lack of width was exactly that - alarming. Perhaps the refusal to change this, certainly sooner, more so. Yep he can be frustrating, and still does have things to learn, but I cannot see why Nadir Ciftci was not played, or at least brought on and told 'run at players', John Utaka could then have been used on the other flank and told the same with Kanu used to hold up the ball and bring them, and others, into play.

The decision to play Greg Halford on the right was ineffective for me and in many ways giving Derby such freedom to do what they wanted, and offering little on the flanks coming forward ourselves, really played into their hands.

As already said I know numbers are limited, although the ability to use what we have in the right ways, at the right times, is something that I have slight reservations about Cotterill on, hence - NOT that I am saying 'get him out' or saying that I am one that has wanted him out - why I am not joining the 'Steve Cotterill football genius' camp just yet...

We missed Dave Nugent's energy, effort and enthusiasm - even if he is like a headless chicken at times - but that is not why we lost, something Cotterill also conceded: 'we had to make a change with David Nugent injured, and that meant shuffling the team around, but you can`t blame the absence of just one player. Derby were the better team.

'But we've been on a good run and we're not too big that we can't be beaten. And in the long run that defeat might do us good. We'll respond against QPR.'

I would agree that the 'defeat might do us good' as it may well bring some back down to earth, although it is only a good thing if players respond to this in the right way - this again goes back to earlier thoughts really that we have to remember just because we are out of admin it does not make 'everything ok', remember this and this defeat 'should' stand us in good stead.

QPR will be the biggest test that we have faced so far, although I would say Derby have been the best side faced - and we failed that test!

If we perform anything like we did last night against QPR on Tuesday we will get spanked, lets hope we show what we are made of and yesterday was just a bump in the road - bring on The Hoops...


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  • The Journalist

    Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

    Date:Sunday November 7 2010

    Time: 10:41AM

    Your Comments

    Cotteril should have changed the system for yesterday especially when Nugent was forced out. We could have played 4-5-1 with a strong defensive midfield of Hughes, Mullins and Brown. Utaka and Lawrence the wide man with Kitson up front. I agree, Halford didn't look good at all on the attacking side of the right wing.
    Pompey Malta
    I would like our manager to once say- I got it wrong I shouldn't have started Lawrence and Halford the way I did.
    I agree your point Malta, it was wrong, so pompey went rough house which is ok when you do it well and it isnt antagonising the Ref. What a difference the class of Kanu mated to sone effort made although it was too late. Again I watched a game where pompey's defence didn't know what they were doing and spent most of the time arguing; what's wrong with Rocha? His organisation was much missed. I'm really hoping Webber is fit to return soon competition is needed in the front line. Anybody got any ideas on the tactics QPR will use on Tuesday?
    We certainly can't moan about the result, after all Derby were the better side and deserved their win. What I like about the Championship though is these are all good teams and they are all competitive matches, and there's no reason Pompey can't pick themselves up and beat those 'R's on Tuesday night.
    We couldve played Utaka left and Kanu behind Kitson but we didnt... we lost to a better team, certainly on the night. Halford is a good addition and is still finding his feet im sure he will get better and Im sure if the lads sort themselves out we'll be a match for QPR. If anyone saw the Cardiff vs. Swansea game today, Swansea did exactly the same to Cardiff as Derby did to us, this league is wide open and I for one am enjoying it! PuP
    Bound to happen - not too worried, expect to lose to QPR also.

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