Reflections on Boro draw
Yesterday was 'one of those games' that you get from time to time - not that entertaining, for large periods of it but not one of the worse games every, although certainly not one of the best!
All in all, and as some people had said that they thought would be the case, I think it was a 'tired' looking Pompey...
Steve Cotterill agreed to a degree and is looking forward to us having a break: 'with a bit more spring in our step I think we'd have gone on and won the game.
'We've had a tough run of games, with seven in 22 days, and I just thought we looked a little bit tired.
'The midweek without a game will be welcome.'
It was quite obvious, from an early stage, that Boro came for a point - to be fair when you are still fighting the threat of relegation you have to do what you have to do, and a point away from home represents a very good one for them.
Another cleansheet is pleasing, although for me the lack of threat that we contained coming forward, overall, was disappointing again.
Cotterill took pleasure from this 5th successive home cleansheet, which extends an unbeaten run to 6 - is Fratton becoming a fortress again? - but thought we were the better side: 'they came here with two banks of four with a lot of long balls up to their strikers, and that's how they tried to catch us.
'We were the better team but we couldn't come up with the goal to get us the win.
'We're pleased with another clean sheet. I don't think we looked like conceding a goal. They had a couple of efforts, but nothing major.'
He also thinks that clubs are showing us 'respect' by coming to Fratton and putting men behind the draw in a concerted effort to frustrate us and ensure, well they hope, that we cannot break them down.
When clubs do this is becomes 'important' that you get the early breakthrough - if we had got that Cotterill thought more goals would follow: 'I think a lot of teams have put men behind the ball when they've come here, which is a mark of respect to us.
'That's why it's important in games like this that you get your noses in front, because then they have to come out and attack you.
'I think if we had scored from one of the opportunities we had early on, like Hermann's header that hit the bar and then bounced on the line, then we would have won comfortably. With a little bit of luck we might have been 3-0 up in the first 20 minutes.
'But Middlesbrough are fighting for their lives and the longer they were in it the more we had to fight to break them down.'
One thing that certainly did not help the game was the ref!
I have never seen him before, and hopefully I never will again - it was almost as if he had been knocking around the lower reaches of the football pyramid for donkies then suddenly got the call on the Friday night, which left him thinking it was his 'moment of fame', so wanted to ensure that this was the case.
What was, on the whole a poor(ish) game that lacked quality was not helped by his constant 'stop-start' approach, which certainly benefited Boro more. To begin with he seemed to let a lot go, but then when he actually gave his first foul, which seemed some time into the 1st half, he did not look back and - although I know all fans who see it through their clubs eyes think the same - I did not think he gave us anything...
On reflection I think those that were saying this 'could' be a game too far were right to be honest.
I thought we might be able to dig deep and go once more but we did look tired so this week break that we had coming up before Leicester, and then the international break - as annoying as these can be - will actually be a good thing.
Leicester will be a mighty tough task next weekend but a good weeks training, and some rest involved, and picking up something is possible - bring Sven's Foxes...
PLAY UP POMPEY!
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