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Are We Ever Going On A European Tour?

Are We Ever Going On A European Tour?
But now we're an established top-half Premiership side, we have top class players, and it's in our sights. We came so so close last year; we're hungry for it, so it should be a realistic target this year - right?

But this year is much much harder than last. Man City, Everton, Aston Villa, West Ham - they all seem to have stronger sides this season than last and are all pushing hard for a UEFA cup place. Not only that, but last season the qualification went down to 7th spot. This year one of those places has already gone.

However this year - shock horror, one of the "Big 4" looks unlikely to qualify for a Champions League position. On the one hand this opens up a Champions League place to one of the chasing pack for a UEFA cup positions. On the other, it throws Liverpool into the mix for just one or possibly two UEFA spots.

Of course, we are still in the FA Cup. We had the nightmare draw nobody wanted, but we still believe we can do it. That's why I, for one, am leaving town at stupid o clock next Saturday.

But are we kidding ourselves? We have some fantastic players at Pompey, true world class. I believe our manager is a great manager, (although I recognise this has been up for debate on the site in the last few hours) who not only makes good signings, surprising ones that come good, knows football like the back of his hand and is an excellent motivator - and we've also got superb coaching staff, such as Tony Adams. But our performances lately have not been so great. We've been nicking 1-0 wins in lack-lustre performances. I don't know why - why aren't we better? Last season 'Arry was quoted as saying we were "punching above our weight". This season we are punching below. Why?

Yesterday Everton made us pay for this. Unfortunately, because it was Everton, and all credit to them, and the season they are having, and they way they are playing, it was a critical 6-pointer, and I'm not really sure where losing it leaves our UEFA cup ambition, but the word 'tatters' comes to mind.

Perhaps it will work as a wake-up call. It's a tough lesson - but if we take it, perhaps losing a crucial league game is better than a crucial cup match. However you slice it though, we've got to go to Old Trafford next Saturday and get a result for the first time. We have to pull rabbits out of the hat in a way that we haven't seen all season. After all we haven't been to Wembley since 1939 either. But we do have the quality in our side. And this could be our route into Europe as well. C'mon you blues!

PLAY UP POMPEY

Written by tracyc.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

Join the Vital Pompey Debate

Writer:pompeyrug
Date:Monday March 3 2008
Time: 8:51AM

Comments

0
good article tracy - i agree we punched above our weight last season, so also agree that really we are punching below it so far this season, and if we dont buck our ideas up we'll not even match what we did last season which would be disastrous... again i must agree with you on the fa cup thoughts, i too am not leaving at a crazy time in the morning for a 'nice day out', clearly i would be going either way - as i wouldnt if i didnt want to - but i do feel we can win, so its even more reason to go! even tho we havent played well for a long time i still felt we would make the uefa cup - for the 1st time in a long time i am beginning to have doubts, the way to correct this is beat united then birmingham and villa to get things back on track...
pompeyrug
03/03/2008 08:56:00
0
Spot on Rug, after yesterday's performance I think the dream might be over, I know it's tight up there but other teams seem to be able to grind out results, (Villa, Blackburn). I think our defence has been found out an teams now know that if they isolate Campbell with anyone with a bit of pace then the chances are good, Everton certainly did it and so have a couple of other teams. I still think 10th is good for us, but after the start we had we should be looking for top 6.
bluedr
03/03/2008 11:46:00
0
According to a member of our back room staff, Moyes told yakubu to target Sol all game. And in the end we got our rewards. I'd considor dropping him to be honest, he is definetly a weak link right now. I wouldn't say your UEFA cup hopes are over at all, 6th will probably be an intertoto spot, maybe even 7th. If you win out from here you'll finish in a UEFA spot. And there's no games you have left, you can't win
EvertonMike
03/03/2008 15:57:00
0
Good article tracy - Thanks for the vote of confidence Mike. I think you have a litttle more than me at this stage purely and simply as we just haven't been playing well for a while (the Chelsea game is probably the exception so far this year .. and maybe Reading .. but that's it). There are a few areas of the team that need sorting.. Campbells pace, Sulleys form, Nikos corners, Kanu's stamia, the supply to Defoe etc. but nothing that (I think) the players can't sort out themselves with the coaching staff - What really irks me though is that a lot of the players have gone on record as stating they are ready for the challenge for Europe or ready for the challenge of qualifying for Europe but then they don't apply it on the pitch. If, and it's a big if, we are to qualify via the league we need to start putting in the kind of displays that warrant 5th 6th or 7th place at the moment I'm not sure we are doing that. The FA Cup is of course another route in and if we can (as Tracy says) pull a rabbit out of the hat on Saturday then there is nobody to fear .. not even Chelsea as we have shown we can match them away from The Bridge... I will remain optimistic but feel that if we don't consolidate our position soon we might not get the same opportunity next year especailly with Spurs and Newcastle bouncing back as I'm sure they will ..
Chix
03/03/2008 19:11:00
0
If we don't get the cup final, very possible, the final isn't a Mancs-Chelsea affair then 5th place will be a uefa spot only.
storagematt
03/03/2008 19:20:00
0
Spot on Matt .. so if we do lose to the Manure we just gotta hope it's another boring final.. !
Chix
04/03/2008 00:05:00
0
Nice one Tracy. I don't see us coming out as flat against United, but it's still a huge hill to climb. Also believe Liverpool will still pull off the fourth Championship spot and hey, if we DO get beaten by Manyoo and Chelsea prevail (which they should) that should still leave open 6th spot given the number of Championship sides left in the FA Cup. I'm more worried about the team gelling in time to give us a serious shot at the top 6. He'll need to tinker, that's for sure and while he's at it. why not try a genuing 4-3-3 with Utaka on the right and Krancjar, Diarra and Mendes in midfield ? (yeah, I know, Muntari & Diop are missing, but maybe that's a project for a later date. That midfield we played against Everton was a shambles. Zero service with the exception of GJ and occasionally Krunchie).
Toronto4Pompey
04/03/2008 02:17:00
0
TracyC, I said in one of my posts recently that Peter Storrie had confirmed that HR had not put in for the Intertoto Cup to get into Europe but had had some discussions about a trip to Asia again this year. I reported many weeks ago that HR and the club had made tentative plans for a tour of Asia if we did not make Europe. Obviously, for whatever reason, HR and the club feel it is more important and beneficial to go to Asia than to try to get into Europe via the backdoor. To answer your question I don't think we will be in Europe for the next couple of seasons at least ,unless we can join the players in a training camp in Spain. I have stated that I don't think we are ready so , for once, I agree with HR and think Asia should be the preference. For those interested expect LA Galaxy, Gold Coast Galaxy, Sydney FC and a couple of other clubs to feature strongly in a tournament should Pompey miss Europe and tour in the Asia/ Australasia area.
frattonaussie
04/03/2008 04:49:00
0
Key week coming up, we need to win 2 of the next 3 matches, 1 of which is of course Man u, we lose that and thats one avenue closed, Birmingham are beatable at our place, then is the next one Villa. We lose that then a 6th place spot is probably out the window also, but the dream lingers, if we go off the rails now we have taken the place of Charlton a couple of years back, always up there until the last 15 games or so.
paultsmouth
04/03/2008 07:16:00
0
frattonaussie why do you keep saying 'harry redknapp has decided' this and that? he is the manager not the owner, he doesnt decide if we go on tour to asia or not - this isnt his decision to make, if we have decided to tour asia then this isnt on his say so...
pompeyrug
04/03/2008 08:50:00
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