Victory has to be just the start

Craig Westcarr celebrates his goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
Craig Westcarr celebrates his goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Alan McLoughlin praised Pompey’s resolve as Morecambe were emphatically dispatched but insisted: This has to be just the start.

The Blues coach dismissed the notion Saturday’s 3-0 win at Fratton Park was payback for the FA Cup humbling at Aldershot.

McLoughlin took pleasure in the team’s reaction to that result, as they delivered one of their best displays of the season.

But he saw the outcome as the first stepping stone towards success, with a period of good form needed.

McLoughlin said: ‘Everyone should react the right way in adversity – and we have.

‘Some come with you and some don’t. That’s the way it is.

‘But we believe in the group as a whole.

‘We were disappointed the other day because we believe they are good footballers.

‘But you have to be more than a good footballer when the going gets tough.

‘We had to react to it as a team – and team is the key word.

‘We’ve had to deal with a horrible eight days after Plymouth and Aldershot.

‘But it’s shown the character of everyone in the club that we haven’t panicked.

‘The fans want us to succeed and if people are patient, to an extent, I think we can achieve what we want to.

‘We want to be further up the league but it’s a long season.

‘We’re four points off the play-offs and if we can string a few results together everything will be rosy moving forward.’

Despite the obvious disappointment, McLoughlin chose to keep the Aldershot result in context – and the same goes for the Morecambe win.

He said: ‘We’re not getting carried away.

‘It’s not payback, it happens.

‘We weren’t happy with it but this isn’t payback.

‘It’s a learning curve. We would have loved to have been in there against Rochdale in the Cup.

‘It’s not payback. The lads who played the other night didn’t perform poorly because they wanted to. It’s football. Expectation at this club lends itself to more pressure here than other clubs.

‘How we reacted is the most important thing.

‘Now it has to be carried 
forward.’

McLoughlin revealed there has been plenty of straight talking at Fratton Park in recent days – among both players and staff.

He said: ‘There’s a professional way to go about things.

‘There’s a specific role for myself and Paul Hardyman.

‘The input this week hasn’t been from just myself and Paul but everyone.

‘It’s from Sean Duggan in the medical department, Louis Langdown in strength and condition to Marc Rochon in analysis.

‘We had Alan Knight come in and spoke about different approaches and doing things differently.

‘We don’t know everything but we feel we have enough to affect the players in a positive way at this club.

‘Sometimes that’s not right and we don’t get things right behind the scenes all the time – but we believe in ourselves.’