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Rovers 0 Portsmouth 1


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Rovers: Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Ooijer, Warnock, Bentley, Savage, Dunn (Tugay 56), Pedersen (Roberts 79), Santa Cruz, McCarthy (Derbyshire 56).

Subs Not Used: Brown, Mokoena.

Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Muntari, Davis, Diop, Kranjcar (Taylor 86), Kanu (Mwaruwari 69), Utaka (Pamarot 90).

Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Nugent.

Booked: Diop, Muntari, James.

Goals: Kanu 25.

Att: 19,506

Ref: Chris Foy

League position 10th


Mark Hughes:post match comment.

"We don't want to use the midweek defeat as an excuse. We aspire to be a club who plays in Europe and can come back and win games at Premier League level.

"We were lacking in the intensity we normally play with and when you lack that we do not have the influence on the game we usually have.

"They defended very well, their back four was rock solid and it was very difficult for us to draw them out into areas they didn't want to go. If we capitalised on the first 20 minutes it might have been a different game."

post match comment by RevidgeBlue.

I would draw a slight distinction between yesterday and Thursday. The Greek game was a totally unacceptable performance against a vastly inferior side.

Yesterday we started really well and Santa Cruz could (and maybe should) have scored and MCCarthy certainly should have. Could have been game over. However after that we let the tempo drop and eventually Pompey were gifted a couple of chances, one of which they converted.

For some reason the confidence seemed to visibly drain out of the side after that and we just got worse and worse as the game went on. I just can't understand why that should be the case and why we haven't more belief in our own ability after previously putting a fifteen game unbeaten run together.

A few random points:

MGP is taking a lot of stick but golden boy Bentley was equally as poor if not worse yesterday and has been most of the season. I'd have brought Roberts on for either of them at least 20 minutes earlier and gone 3 up front.

I've been one of McCarthy's biggest critics but I actually thought he worked a lot harder than usual yesterday. Unfortunately he was dropping far too deep minimising his effectiveness and leaving Santa Cruz completely isolated. They don't work well as a pairing.

Still don't think Ooijer is anywhere near Premiership standard.

One bad game in Greece and Bert has gone from being outstanding to looking like the lost soul he was under Souness.

Tugay plays far too deep these days to have any real impact.

We showed yet again that when a team gets ten men behind the ball we simply haven't got the wit and ingenuity to break them down. That's why I think it's very optimistic to think we can overturn a two goal deficit against Larissa given we never looked like cancelling out a single goal today.

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