Date: 10th August 2010 at 8:24am
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Steve Cotterill, as he told The Pompey Site, was happy to get the potential ‘banana skin’ against Stevenage out the way as we won 2-1.

Although he thought we played ‘very, very well’ at times he had praise for Stevenage, and their fans – who I must say were fantastic and it was a pleasure to see fans as good as that, before, during and after the game: ‘it was a really tough game against a club on the up. It was a real potential banana skin – and their fans were as noisy as ours, which takes some doing.

‘I thought in some patches of the game we played very, very well. But I’ve got to give credit to Stevenage who played their part in a real cup tie. It was end-to-end.’

He once again, as he did after the Coventry defeat, highlighted the lack of fitness – which he thought showed as the game went on, but, and again like he did after Coventry, said that he believes this will come shortly as the signs are there: ‘by about 70 minutes we started to look a bit leggy. We’re not quite there yet. But a few more games like that and a few more victories and we’ll have a spring in our step for the whole 90 minutes.

‘We weren’t found wanting in any shape or form. We controlled the ball for long periods and we hoped that would wear them down.

‘But to be fair to them they’re a fit crew and they look like they’ve had a good pre-season and are really enjoying themselves.

‘Fingers crossed, with a fair wind we might be all right.’

Another thing that Cotterill spoke about after the Coventry game was the need to change the mentality of the club, and this was again mentioned – and he feels certain that things will change: ‘I’m a little bit fed up of the ‘hard luck Portsmouth’ scenario. The culture of this club has got to change – and it will change. And I’ll do my very, very best to change it. David Lampitt is of the same ilk as me in his thinking.

‘We could have felt sorry for ourselves when Stevenage got a deflected equaliser. But we didn’t let that happen.’

Nadir Ciftci scored a goal, and his contribution – which was a bit up and down at times, although he looks promising enough – along with Joel Ward’s was praised, another of the youngsters that did well was Matty Ritchie.

All came in for some praise: ‘Nadir Ciftci gave me an early goal and a stupid back-heel 10 minutes from time when he should have crossed it! And he got told about both of them.

‘I’m pleased about the young boys who played out there, because it’s been a tough baptism. Joel Ward had a tough game after not doing anything for two weeks because of a groin injury. He only passed a fitness test in the morning.’

I thought we looked good enough, and all in all I could not fault the effort or commitment of most – sorry to keep banging on about this issue but this is something that I REALLY want from our players this season and ‘if’ we get that, regardless of results, I will be happy.

Some DO need to up their game though, and I would hope that they know this, whereas others are doing well and ‘should’ keep their places, even if they were not expected to do so, or had even been branded ‘not good enough’ for the 1st team by Cotterill.

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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