Rocha: There was no rift with Cotterill

Ricardo Rocha
Ricardo Rocha

Ricardo Rocha lifted the lid on his relationship with the previous Pompey boss and declared: I never fell out with Steve Cotterill.

The Portuguese defender struggled to earn a first-team place this season under the former Blues manager with Jason Pearce and Greg Halford preferred as the central defensive partnership.

But since Cotterill’s departure to Nottingham Forest, Rocha has now started the past three games as Pompey have gleaned six points out of nine.

With the popular centre-back so often overlooked for selection, some fans believed that a personality clash had caused a rift between the pair.

But Rocha insists that was never the case and he simply had to be patient to wait for his opportunity to get back in the starting line-up.

Rocha said: ‘We never had an argument or anything like that – I am not like that and he wasn’t like that with me.

‘We are both very passionate for the game but we never had any problems like that.

‘We had a pretty good relationship – all of the players did. It was just the selection of the manager.

‘I am a professional and as one of more than 20 players in the squad, I had to wait for my chance to regain my place.

‘I didn’t speak to him about it. Football is like that and managers have to make difficult choices in picking the team. I respected that decision.’

With Halford switched to right-back for the recent win over Barnsley, Rocha was recalled – a match in which Cotterill selected the side before his departure.

Rocha said: ‘It’s always difficult for the guys who are out of the team for a few games.

‘The good thing is I kept on doing my work and training hard so I was ready to take my opportunity when I got my chance.

‘I got that chance against Barnsley and now I want to make the most of it.’