Date: 30th October 2008 at 12:07pm
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Tony Adams almost kicked off his Pompey career as manager in an almost ideal way against Liverpool with at least a draw at Liverpool – which might have been even better – but for a later winner.

Even so, as he told The News he is still taking plenty from the game: ‘I was gutted really. I was really pleased with how they did.

‘We have had the two best chances of the game against the league leaders. My boys fought really hard and I can’t really fault them.

‘They are a little low because we have played so well and lost. To lose in the manner we did was frustrating.

‘We would have walked away with a win on another day after having those chances.

‘We thought we deserved something out of the game.’

Clearly Liverpool are a classy outfit, but we defended really well – set out a game plan and stuck to it.

I have only seen the chances as they happened but from where I sat Papa Bouba Diop really should have done better with his header, as he seemed to have plenty of time and ‘might’ have even been able to have brought it down? John Utaka also should have done better with his late missed chance, but there you go…

We were beaten but in no way disgraced and should walk away from that defeat with our heads held high – 1 point from the last 6 is somewhat harsh, but I have been pleased by both performances and feel we can take something from them, we must win on Saturday though at Fratton!

As for Diop, his moment of madness when he looked to get two hands to the ball cost us the penalty that ultimately cost us the game but Adams is not blaming him: ‘I didn’t ask Papa what he did. I spoke to him about it but I certainly didn’t blame him.

‘In my opinion – and I gave him my opinion – I think big Sami got away from him, he got a yard on him, and he panicked.

‘Next time he’s still got to get it past England’s number one – get your body in there, pull him off and then there’s no problem.

‘I’ve been doing the technical bit with him rather than throwing teacups. That’s how I do things.

‘You see, one moment of madness costs you in a place like this, it happens.

‘I remember coming here as an Arsenal player and good, old Ray Parlour had his first game and gave away a penalty. It costs you and you lose the game and you go home with nothing.’

A decision that Adams did make pre game, and one that surprised many was the exclusion of Jermain Defoe.

He was only named on the bench as we went with a 4-5-1 formation – but he insists there is no problem with him, it was just tactical and a move to counter another potential spanking: ‘I saw him Jermain rubbing his calf and we’ve had some beatings away form home at Manchester City and away at Braga so we had to be stronger.

‘I want J to be top scorer at this club and challenging for top scorer in the league but also I’m realistic and we are away at the team top of the table.

‘Some decisions I will make will be tactical, some emotional, and that one was tactical tonight. I’ve no problem with J and I hope he scores lots of goals at this football club.’

Yep, I always want Defoe to play as I know he will get chances, most of which he will take but Adams made exactly the right call for me here tactically – had we gone 4-4-2 I think there is a very good chance we would have been ripped to shreds. Peter Crouch was lacking in support, but when played to his feet he held the ball up well, and to be fair did the best he could when the ball was launched to him.

Getting Defoe on 5 minutes earlier might have made a difference, but then again it could have exposed us more and seen more goals follow for Liverpool? This call is one that I back Adams with, and also one that I do not think our previous manager would have made – and that could have seen a far different result, and not for the better…

And finally, as for what his own intentions are with the team he is encouraged enough to believe that things will work out ok: ‘I’ve got a great bunch of players here at Portsmouth who will work hard and who I trust.

‘My feet are firmly on the floor, I’m a realist, but I think this might work out.

‘I think we’ll be alright me and Portsmouth, I’ve got a funny feeling – maybe I’m wrong and maybe it wont but I think we’ll be alright.’

Tony Adams blue and white army…


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