Date: 17th August 2008 at 10:32pm
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Harry Redknapp has bemoaned our defending, which aided to our downfall against Chelski today, telling the Pompey Site that basic errors cost us badly: ‘we made basic errors with some of our defending. There was a goal-kick and John Terry comes and wins the header, heads it in behind our back four and now Joe Cole’s running in one-on-one with our keeper.

‘As a nine year-old, the first thing you do as a back four when the ball goes up and their centre-half is coming in to head it, is drop back.

‘Give yourself a bit of depth and you’re in a good position to pick it off and play the ball back to your keeper.

‘It’s so easy, it’s almost scary.

‘But we end up standing there watching and we’re then chasing. That’s how we defended and it was poor.

‘We’re better than that and we’ll do better than that. It was just a blip.

‘At least we’ve got an easy game next Monday with Manchester United at home!’

Redknapp did however have plenty of praise for Chelski – who were in all fairness fantastic on the day and praised their movement, commenting that this was too much for us to handle. Also mentioning our own 4-4-2 formation in as much as it might have been a mistake to deploy this at Stamford Bridge, but this is the way he is looking to play now: ‘they were just good, really. Their movement was too much for us and we couldn’t stay with it.

‘Last year we had a great away record playing 4-5-1 and we were fantastic. I’ve made a rod for my own back in a way bringing in two strikers and playing 4-4-2.

‘I don’t think you can come here and do that. Unless you play 4-5-1, you get overloaded in midfield and their movement is too good. That’s what happened to us.

‘But you don’t play Chelsea every week and I’ve not brought Defoe here not to play. It’s no good me leaving him out first game of the season.

‘I’ve gone with the two of them hoping we can cause Chelsea some problems but it does leave you a bit vulnerable. They had to feed off scraps as well and it was difficult for them.’

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My own thinking is we have too many square pegs in round holes, which is not ideal at all. Yep, we were poor but Chelski were fantastic. We must remember, not that it excuses such a poor showing, that it was Chelski we were playing against and not some tin pot outfit! Had we been spanked by a lesser team then I would be seriously worried, not that I am accepting this as I am not.

In many ways we were in a no win situation, if we won then expectation levels would be through the roof, if we lost – as we did – then we were in for a horrendous season in some people’s eyes. An ideal scenario would have been a draw – it was not to be, so we move on.

Yep, we have been weakened by the losses of Sulley Muntari and Pedro Mendes, but who would not be by this? We cannot change this fact though, so again we must move on from that. However I do not think that we were beaten heavily today entirely down to that, we were beaten heavily because we were poor, we defended poorly and conceded poor goals. The real underlining factor that was highlighted again was something that has been the case for months – we were desperately short of width! We had no outlet, so we could not create any openings… Had we had Muntari and/or Mendes today that would not have given us the width would it…

Jerome Thomas showed a few moment in his short appearance to suggest he might be able to offer us something, so lets give him a go on the left or right, or throw John Utaka into the mix – or both! He might have disappointed last season but Papa Bouba Diop cannot do the job wide right, and I think his constantly playing there is not helping the way we perceive his ability…

Not too many came out of this game with much, if any credit, but we are a better side than the one we saw today and we should not get too caught up in things and think this is the start of worse to come. Maybe I am to optimistic, naive even, but I just think we need to put this into perspective – we were poor, they were very good and will be challenging for the league if not winning it, there were a lot of negatives but lets put this behind us, dust ourselves down and move on…

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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