PAUL COOK admitted the Pompey job has been tougher than he ever dreamed it would be.
But the Blues boss underlined his conviction he will see the role through to a successful conclusion.
Cook is now 19 months into his management position at Fratton Park as he continues in his bid to guide the club out of League Two.
The 49-year-old remains confident he can deliver that objective for Pompey.
He confessed, however, he never anticipated many of the obstacles he’s faced when he took the post.
‘At Pompey, it’s been a lot tougher challenge than I ever thought it would be,’ said Cook, ahead of today’s trip to Grimsby.
‘Factoring in the way teams set up against you and the energy teams put into performances against you.
‘It all comes with the Pompey animal. Get on with it.
‘But I didn’t see it. Not at all. Managing this club is tough.
‘People can clamour for the guillotine.
‘That’s the way it is.
‘Then we’ll change another squad and repetitively make ourselves worse. I’m not going to change that.
‘You only have to look at how Cheltenham played on the Saturday against us, then they got beat 3-0 at home by Colchester on the Tuesday.
‘It’s their cup final, biggest game of the season and Pompey are there with 2,000 fans.
‘Every player runs every last breath – but they can’t maintain that.
‘That’s the challenge for us – and my job is to meet that challenge.
‘That’s what I was brought here for.
‘Making excuses won’t get us up and I won’t make them.’
Despite facing criticism from some sections of Pompey’s support, Cook’s belief he is the man to deliver for the Blues is unwavering.
The boss feels he has a squad which isn’t far from being one who can finish in the top three this season.
The Scouser has faced some flak in recent weeks, including being berated by a fan after the loss to Stevenage.
Cook explained it’s ground he’s covered before in his time at Chesterfield.
But all those moments were forgotten as his guided the Spireites to the League Two title in 2014.
Cook added: ‘I would always be self-confident.
‘You can’t have your team play at Plymouth and Luton like they do and then lose to Notts County and Stevenage without having some good qualities.
‘Are they the team everyone wants them to be? Not yet. Not all of the time.
‘If we are to be promoted no one will remember the pain.
‘I don’t remember it from Chesterfield.
‘We got beat 3-1 at Accrington in March and I got abused coming off the pitch.
‘We won the league. We don’t speak about Accrington now, we speak about winning the league.’