Date: 21st November 2010 at 12:08pm
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Pompey slipped to a 3rd defeat in 4 games when we returned from Yorkshire with nothing but a 1-0 defeat against Barnsley.

The winning goal, as has happened so often this season, was a ‘sloppy’ one that Steve Cotterill said could – like many of the others before – have been avoided: ‘I’m disappointed because we gave away a sloppy goal, which has been the story for us too often.

‘The goal started from our own free-kick when we lost possession. We never got the ball back again before they scored.’

I was not at Oakwell yesterday, although I did manage to pick up commentary from midway through the 1st half. From that I would not say that it sounded that ‘appealing’ to be honest. We seemed, again as has often seemed the case in the past 12-months or so, to have a lot of huff and puff but no end product.

Cotterill himself said that little ‘pleased’ him, and the balls into the box that did the trick did not have anyone on the end of them for whatever reason: ‘I wouldn’t say there was too much that pleased me. We started brightly and they scored against the run of play. We were slightly the better team in the first half and they were slightly the better team in the second. There wasn’t much between the teams.

‘Our best opportunities came in the first half when we whizzed three or four balls across their six-yard box but didn’t have anyone to tap them in.’

This run that we are in now has seen us slide back down the table, although Cotterill knows that things can soon take an upturn in fortunes again so we must ‘stick at it’.

He also wants us to find a better level of performance again, as if we can be consistent enough then more often than not we ‘should’ beat teams: ‘if we had put on a performance like the one where we drew 1-1 with QPR the other week, then, without being disrespectful, we would have beaten Barnsley. But for whatever reason we didn’t reach those levels. It’s frustrating.

‘But we’ve got to stick at it. If we can get on another run all of a sudden it will propel us back in there. Everyone beats everyone in this league. This is probably the most unpredictable league in Europe.’

As said, and as Cotterill did, a run of form again and we propel ourselves up the table as we are only 5pts off the play-off places, although – as much as we might not want to – we also have to look the other way too, which shows we are not too far off the bottom again!

He concedes that we have had a ‘difficult month’, in which injuries have not helped, but we MUST get back to our best soon – he did not have much reason for complaint yesterday as there was very little shuffling around needed, we just were not good enough: ‘it’s been a difficult month for us and we need to get back to winning ways.

‘We had an injury to David Nugent at the start of the month, a couple of players lost their form and then Carl Dickinson got suspended. So we’ve been shuffling around a bit.

‘But having said that there was only one player that was really out of position at Barnsley, and that was Joel Ward, who stuck to his task manfully at left-back. But I wouldn’t say we were any more than okay all around the pitch.’

Again, not being at the game it is difficult to comment too much, but what I would say is I feel we really need to find that ‘hunger’ again, this hunger that we were showing when the going was good. We cannot afford anyone to go missing, or hide, when the going is not so good!

As easily as we put a run together this can, and in a way has started, to be undone again all too quickly.

Something was ‘clicking’ during that run, Cotterill needs to find out – and quickly – what the problem is that is preventing the cogs from moving freely again and correct it, starting at Swansea on Friday, which will be an incredibly difficult game…

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