Cook: We need each other

Pompey boss Paul Cook
Pompey boss Paul Cook

PAUL COOK called on his players to energise Fratton Park as the heat rises against Cambridge United.

And the Pompey boss has asked for fans to create an environment without fear on home soil today.

The Blues go into the U’s clash on a run of a single win from their last seven outings in all competitions.

Tuesday’s defeat at Barnet saw frustration and criticism mount as Pompey fell out of the play-off places.

But Cook has stressed the need for unity is greater than ever as the campaign enters a critical phase.

He said: ‘No fear. We can’t create that environment for our players.

‘That’s all I’d say to our supporters.

‘The last five minutes against Orient wasn’t a good environment to play.

‘We gave the ball away in that five minutes because the environment had gone toxic.

‘That’s the reality of Fratton Park. No-one’s giving anyone criticism for it.

‘But the next week against Bristol Rovers it was high.

‘We must create more highs to make the supporters happy.

‘People feed off each other. Supporters must have the players playing well to feed off them. It’s a balancing act.

‘Our supporters are nothing less than amazing with their numbers and desire for success.

‘What I would suggest is we get behind each other for a period of time.

‘Those players need the support. They need to feel it.

‘And the players must give the supporters something. The supporters must see how much we want to win.’

Cook accepted facing flak comes with the job of being Pompey manager when results don’t arrive.

But he underlined his determination to use criticism as motivation to prove any doubters wrong.

The 49-year-old remains steadfastly confident about what can be achieved at Pompey this season with 15 games remaining.

‘What Portsmouth fans want is success. It’s what we all want,’ said Cook.

‘What managers don’t like these days is criticism. Well, go and get a new job.

‘At a club like ours with our fanbase, you can’t worry about it.

‘Don’t embrace it, but use it as a motivation to drive you on and deliver success for the fans.

‘That’s the most important thing.

‘The reality of our season is we have so much to play for it’s untrue.

‘So my job is not to engage too much on the arguments, but concentrate on the football.

‘I know a win will put us in a great position where everyone will probably be thinking what is the problem?

‘The frustration comes off the back of the amount of disappointments we’ve had. That’s just the reality of football.

‘But the season still offers us so much as a club. It really does.’