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Be aggressive when we haven't got the ball - Pompey boss's message ahead of Cheltenham test
Friday, 24th Feb 2023 19:31 by staff

John Mousinho gave an insight into how he is telling his players to play as he geared up to send them into battle at home to Cheltenham this weekend.

He is pleased to see them showing more aggression when not in possession - although he says that side of their game is a work in progress.

More purpose in possession - and more ruthlessness - is also being sought by the head coach, who so far has overseen three wins, two draws and two defeats. Next up it's a 'solid' Cheltenham side coming to Fratton - and Mousinho says their efforts in the PJ Trophy in midweek showed their dangers.

Mousinho told the Pompey website: 'I don’t think anyone can fully prepare you for exactly what the job is like when you come in. You have your own ideas of what’s going to happen and how you’re going to conduct yourself — I’ve largely tried to stick with that.

'But there are 20 new things that pop up every single day and you have to manage them. It’s the sheer volume of responsibilities as a head coach that you perhaps don’t anticipate. That’s especially true when things don’t quite go to plan — whether that’s an injury on the day before a game or someone’s baby being born.

'Thankfully, we’ve been able to handle everything and there’s certainly been nothing that’s put me off the job. In fact, it’s made it all the more enjoyable. We’re getting there and seeing some real shoots of improvement, especially out of possession when we look an aggressive side who want to close the opposition down.

'Sometimes that might have cost us, such as at Plymouth when we were exposed for a couple of goals. But it’s better for us to try to play the right way and get used to that, rather than delay things and wait until everyone gets the principles.

'For the most part, the reaction from the players has been excellent and they’ve been able to execute what we’re looking for. We’re trying to have more purpose in possession — and we weren’t ruthless enough last week — but we’ll keep working on it and we’ve definitely seen progress.'

Mousinho said of Cheltenham: 'They’re an extremely solid side and anyone who switched on the television to watch them on Tuesday night would have seen that. They gave Plymouth a run for their money — and we know what they’re all about — and are well organised.

'Cheltenham are strong on the counter-attack and have a squad who have been together a while and enjoyed some success. There’s a fine line for us between being confident and not respecting the opposition. We have to make sure we put ourselves in a position to win because they’ll be no pushovers.'

Photo: Action Images

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