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Pompey boss: I saw enough heart and will to know we'll come through
Sunday, 6th Feb 2022 21:18 by staff

Danny Cowley might not have much faith in referees and football's disciplinary system right now - but he does have faith in his players.

After his battling team - unfairly reduced to 10 men early in their visit to Oxford - lost 3-2 having looked like overcoming the odds to win 2-1 at one stage - Cowley spoke of his pride in their efforts on an afternoon of adversity at the Kassam.

And he said he'd seen enough to know they'd come through their sticky patch. 'I’ve been a manager for a long time and I can’t remember a game where so much has gone against us, particularly from the referee,' he told the media after the game.

'But I was proud of the players and their efforts. They fought heroically and put their bodies on the line. We got a good place in the game through a really nice counter-attacking goal and then defended for our lives.

'It was going to take a brilliant strike to peg us back – and unfortunately for us, they got two of them from long-range. I’ve seen the red card back and it’s just not a sending off. Anyone who understands football will know that if the ball is high, the foot is high.

'The Oxford player’s head is no more than a metre from the floor and Joe’s just tried to help the ball on. Brannagan has ducked down into his foot, but the referee can’t even see it. Just look at his positioning.

'There are two players right in his line and he’s just guessed, so that’s unacceptable. I’ve got little faith in the system at the moment. On Monday when there was an offside decision missed in the lead up to the first goal, while this time the official’s management of the game was so below what’s expected at this level.

'You watch the Premier League and they’ve got VAR, but still can’t get it right, so what chance do we have! There’s not time for being victims, though, because we’ve got a game on Tuesday and have to get on with it.

'I’m just bitterly disappointed for our supporters – who were absolutely magnificent – and the players. I saw enough heart and will in the group to know we’ll come through.'

Pompey host Burton on Tuesday night and Doncaster on Saturday - and need points, first and foremost, to ward off talk of getting dragged into the relegation battle.

Photo: Action Images

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