Date: 4th March 2009 at 3:43pm
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Paul Hart’s Pompey, and they are his Pompey now with his confirmation as the new manager announced shortly after the Chelski defeat, were beaten but in no way disgraced last night – these are some of his post match thoughts, shared with The News, of course with some of my own too…

Hart on the performance
‘There were a lot of disappointed players in our dressing room. But they know they put in a very good performance against one of the best teams in the division.

‘We showed endeavour, discipline and fighting spirit. We’ve had a 4-0 against Chelsea this season.

‘We would have been mugs to go out there and blaze a trail all over the pitch.

‘It was a disappointing result, but a tremendous performance from all the players.’

As often as I can I try to remove my Pompey tinted specs, and I honestly do think it is not unfair to say that the very least that we deserved from the game was a point, but hey, you do not always get what you deserve do you…

We defended very well, albeit a little too deep again, as seems to be our problem, although I guess this is understandable given our position. Unfortunately, despite this spirited display in appalling conditions – yep I know it was the same for both sides and this almost certainly acted as a ‘leveller’ in many ways, and although most media outlets are portraying it as ‘Chelsea not playing well’ I firmly believe that we are not getting the credit we deserve for this being largely down to our performance – this was not to be and we still only have the solitary point against the Londoners in our premier league history.

Hart on missed chances
‘Petr Cech has made two or three very good saves. But I think against the big teams you have to take chances – you don’t get many.

‘We have to learn that lesson and do better next time.

‘We deserved at least a point, and maybe we could have won.

‘Chelsea are a very difficult team to play. They are a tremendous team. But we were sensible and defended properly.’

Yep, usually against ‘the big teams’ you get the solitary clear cut chance if you are lucky, these must be taken – we had a couple of fantastic opportunities but failed to take them and this always leaves you with the worry that ‘you will be made to pay’…

I have not seen any highlight, well apart from those on the big screen, and just saw them as the events unfolded but Sean Davis was only denied by what looked like a wonderful save from Petr Cech and Dave Nugent, who to be fair did well to even fashion a chance and had all-round great game, was again denied by the Czech keeper – but in a one-on-one you do need to take these chances.

The best chance of all fell to Niko Kranjcar as we some how broke away with every Chelski player in our half watching on as we did so! Ideally we needed someone with pace breaking away and then they might have even gone all the way? Nevertheless Peter Crouch broke away and put in a fantastic ball, and after the Croatian did the hard part – controlling the ball – the finish was horrible, he could have even taken another touch I reckon…

I think that is when I realised we were not going to win, and would probably go on to then lose!

Hart on his appointment
‘It is good for all concerned, the club the players and the supporters. Not because they have appointed me but because a decision had been made.

‘In the three games Brian and I have been here, the players have shown magnificent determination and a great response to what we have asked.

‘If we maintain that sort of spirit we will be a difficult side to beat.

‘I don’t know if this is an audition or what, but I know I have a job to do and that’s keeping this team in the Premier League this season.’

To be honest I will not share views on these thoughts as I have covered these elsewhere, but as he says league survival is the priority, the rest will then take care of itself…

Hart on taking the positives forward
‘It is how we respond from that now.

‘We have a lot of difficult games to come at a critical stage of the season and cannot dwell on the defeat, but can take heart from how we played.’

All to often this season I have found myself saying ‘if we cannot build on that showing, or result, then we never will’, and again I say this – we really, and I mean really, gave them a game, we were not lucky or to a degree unlucky, we just did the job and it just so happened that they took a clear cut chance and we did not.

I know it might sound odd, but I had slight ‘fears’ that had we won in a bizarre kind of way it might have been a bad thing – obviously a good thing for the 3pts, but it ‘might’ have left too many, fans and players, thinking the ‘job was done’ and complacency might have set in?

Hart and Brian Kidd have the know how, but most importantly the experience to know how to deal with this result and how to handle the players, so we will be fine and I do hope, if not expect us to react positively to this.

We now have a break, can jet off to Dubai and carry on working on whatever we are working on then we have a no two ways about it, make no bones about it, must win game at Boro… ok, at least must not lose game for sure!


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