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Significance of success at Fleetwood is not lost on Pompey boss John Mousinho

Portsmouth manager John Mousinho claps to the fans after his teams 1-0 win against Fleetwood Town, during the Sky Bet League One match at Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood. Picture date: Saturday January 20, 2024.
Portsmouth manager John Mousinho claps to the fans after his teams 1-0 win against Fleetwood Town, during the Sky Bet League One match at Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood. Picture date: Saturday January 20, 2024.

Portsmouth boss John Mousinho hailed his side’s 1-0 win at struggling Fleetwood as one of the best of their season.

Pompey stayed at the Sky Bet League One summit thanks to Abu Kamara’s eye-catching striker midway through the first half.

After back-to-back defeats Mousinho admitted it was a welcome win for Pompey, although he would have preferred his side to be more clinical when they are dominating.

He said: “It feels like, and it felt before the game, that it would be up there with the most important and best wins of the season. Especially with all the circumstances – coming into the game off the back of a really poor performance, tough conditions, a tough pitch, to win the game was the most important thing.

“But I think the two sides of the performance, some really good football in the first half followed by that dogged determination to keep the ball out of our net in the second half, it shows we’ve got both sides of the game.

“I felt we were really in control in the first half, we kept the ball for the majority of it. It felt frustrating that we didn’t open them up more but you’re not always going to be able to do that because Fleetwood were working so hard.

“Our plan was that if we kept moving the ball and made it difficult for them something would open up, and a few times it did open up.

“When it does that’s probably the area where we’ve been lacking in the past few weeks, that bit of quality in the final third. But when you’ve got players like Abu Kamara on the pitch we want to see a bit more of that, because he’s got that in his locker.”

Fleetwood’s defeat means new boss Charlie Adam is still awaiting his first point since taking over at Highbury.

Although they prop up the rest of the division, the manager is desperate to see more performances like their second-half show against Pompey.

He explained: “When you give good teams an opportunity, one moment of allowing the ball to come inside has cost us the game.

“I got stuck into them at half-time and told them what I thought and what I expected of them because the first half wasn’t acceptable, we were too passive and we conceded the goal that cost us the game in the end.

“The second half was much better. We drove and I saw a team that was fighting with really good energy at the top end of the pitch but that chance never fell for us so we’ll look back at it and we’ll have to go again next week.

“I felt for some reason we played with the handbrake on in the first half, so we’ll look back on it and see what the reasons are but you can’t give good teams 45 minutes of a start on you and then expect a reaction.

“They gave me the reaction I asked for in the second half but ultimately we were unlucky not to get a point from the game.

“I think we caused a good team problems in the second half, we got on the front foot and pressed better and it allowed us to get up the pitch.

“If we can put it into a consistent 90 minutes then the football matches will start to turn.”