‘I wouldn’t like to be Nigel picking that lot’ – Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley burned the midnight oil with Charlton prepwork

Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley admitted it was difficult to work out how Charlton would line up in yesterday’s match due to the size of their squad.

The Addicks twice fought back to earn a 2-2 draw at The Valley.

Charlton manager Nigel Adkins made five changes to the side which had also picked up a point at Gillingham in midweek.

“We played a Charlton team that carried threat in two different ways,” said Cowley. “We couldn’t pick their team. Wow, they have got some players – ain’t they? I wouldn’t like to be Nigel picking that lot…because there are so many of them.

“It was hard for us to do the analysis work. We were still up at three o’clock this morning [Saturday] trying to make sure we did all the detail on each of the players they have got.

“So we didn’t know quite what they’d pick. We know they’ve got a direct option with Jayden Stockley. We’ve got a lot of respect for Jayden, they play into him and up to him. We know they then carry threat from crosses. We also know if they don’t play Jayden, like they didn’t at Gillingham, they can play with real counter-attack threat.

“I felt regardless of what system they played they would be a threat down the sides of the pitch. So we just had to protect ourselves on the sides. The way we pressed allowed us to do that. And we felt we could overload them in the middle, which was what we were able to do until Nigel matched us up.

Charlton Athletic v Portsmouth SkyBet League One, The Valley, 25 September 2021

“We felt we had a really good dominance in the first half. We had complete control, really. When you’re away from home and you have that dominance you have to probably convert the chances, because we made some good ones.

“We forced Charlton into a formation change in maybe the 35th minute, went from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-2-2. They matched us up in the middle, we were getting lots of overloads and playing through them. That was a good decision from Nigel [Adkins] to do that.

“We’re really disappointed with the way we came out in the second half, that’s the second time we’ve conceded quickly. It was a needless goal as well because it’s such an unneccesary goal to give away when their player is dribbling towards the goal-line and a throw on. We always say the sidelines are an extra defender, so we don’t need to foul in those areas. We’ve just not done our job in the front zone. We’re geared up to deal with that and we didn’t.

“That one hurt. It gave them some momentum and then we did really well to wrestle it back. We go 2-1 up with a really well-worked goal and then we probably created enough chances away from home to win three matches away from home. I don’t want to be that team that plays well and doesn’t win. We’ve gone in the lead twice and been pegged back twice. It’s hard to take because I thought we did a lot of things right.”




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