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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
The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 3 2008

Time: 8:51AM

Your Comments

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
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
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
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
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
Spot on Matt .. so if we do lose to the Manure we just gotta hope it's another boring final.. !
Chix
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
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
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
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
yep, agree we have a key week coming up, 3 games in 7 days that will make or break our season - if we lose 2 out of 3 then the season is almost dead... if we win 2 out of 3 then either way whatever 2 they are it is still very much alive... if we win 3 out of 3 then we have achieved lift off, changes would have been made that were needed...
pompeyrug
Pompeyrug. if you read Peter Storries interview you will see that Storrie said it was HR's decision and no one elses.So HR did decide on the tour unless you can read anything else into that statement.
frattonaussie
Also I said HR and the club feel it is more important and beneficial to go to Asia. If you are going to get of the fence read the post properly.
frattonaussie
my main point to you 'when i got off the fence' was that 'arry doesnt dictate everything this club does, you seem to feel he does - if he owned the club he would, but he doesnt does he...
pompeyrug
We should beat Birmingham lads for one reason more than any other. We are better than them. You could also factor in our better squad, but to win you have to go out and give it your all, and i am convinced some of the team are in cruise control namely Sol, Sylvain, Kanu, Diop, Nico, Utaka and Sulley. They have to play every game and play for the 90 minutes, if it gets tough dig in, and if we get the chances take them. We are a big side, but how many goals do we get from set pieces, bully teams lads, like teams try to bully us!!
Owenspompey
Sorry Rug but if you think back or read my posts and articles you will find that I think Sasha has more say in decisions than most of you believe he has and that will be one of the reasons for HR going before his contract is up. In my post on this article you critise me for saying HR made the decision on his own. Storrie made that statement and my post said HR and the club. So please check your facts and then explain to me where I was wrong. You may think I am a pillock and I may have a view on you but at least I am consistant in my views and don't change them to suit the occassion.
frattonaussie
tbh mate i dont give a rats arse what you think of me or what i write, i have my opnions, you have yours - we might not agree, so be it its easy as that really... my comment above was probably due to a build up of 'arry bashing throughout the site that you have been doing for weeks, you dont like the fella i do, i understand what you are saying with many views and i get wound up by these to but you have to agree to disagree sometimes i guess and im willing to do this but if you are implying that i 'change my views to suit the occassion' so be it, thats your call, i know its wrong...
pompeyrug
when i say 'i get wound up', i mean some of the things that you say annoy you about 'arry get me wound up too...
pompeyrug
Rug, your comment about Harry bashing for weeks show that you look at who writes the article or post and answer in accordance to what you think of that poster. You have done it with me and with other posters in the past. You become blinkered and , in my case, as soon as I say something against HR then everything I say becomes against HR. If you bothered to read my posts you will find on a number of occassions I have supported HR including the latest one about not entering Intertoto and opting for Asia. But of course you decided it was Harry bashing and responded that way and tbh I also don't give a rats arse what u may think of me or what I write. Russellm made a comment about why he wasn't posting very much these days and I have to agree with him.
frattonaussie
when all is said and done the buck does stop with the manager, if he cannot or will not make changes then something will give - i agree with many of your thoughts and views on 'arry and say as much, but at the same time disagree with many of your thoughts - as i can others, no one is 'singled out' for special, or unfair attention, just becuase i play the 'lead role' on this site is doesnt give me any less right to agree or disagree with people does it, not does it give them any less right to do so with me... i cannot be bothered to argue as i do not have the time and basically do not want to, as whats the point but what i will say is i know for a fact that russ' comments were not aimed directly at me, if you feel they were you are very wrong - i know this for fact as we are good mates and totally out of the blue yesterday he contacted me to say that his comments were not aimed at me... even if they were im big enough and ugly enough to take them, as i say people have as much right to disagree with me as i do them, its opinions...
pompeyrug
at the end of the day everyones contribution is valued, i will not cencor anyone - previous editors were said to delete comments if they went against them, do i do that? no as why should i? if we all agreed all of the time about everything how boring would that be - but i wont agree for the sake of agreeing, nor will i disagree for the sake of disagreeing... but sometimes you have to agree to disagree and move on, and this debate here is something that i want to move on from as it isnt going anywhere is it... as i have told you before i hold no grudges against people.
pompeyrug
I never said Russellm's comments were aimed directly at you rug. I said I agreed with what he said and therefore his reasons for not posting very often.
frattonaussie
fair enough.
pompeyrug
 

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