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Paul Hurst post Portsmouth

6 April 2024


Paul Hurst post Portsmouth

6 April 2024

Paul Hurst met with the press following today's game away at league leaders Portsmouth.

Town fell to a 3-1 defeat at Fratton Park as an own goal and a Colby Bishop brace put the hosts to within one game of getting promoted to the Championship.

Elliott Bennett made his first start since the end of February and Jordan Shipley netted Town's goal on his first game back from suspension.

Despite the scoreline, it was far from comfortable for Pompey who needed a bit of luck following a controversial penalty to give them the lead going into half-time.

But Salop needed to make the most of their chances, with Dan Udoh having a golden opportunity in the second half which was well saved by Will Norris.

On the game:

"You have to take your chances. 

"I think we - in terms of a gameplan - concede really early and the temptation is to rip that up.

"But we stuck with it. I think that was important for a period to make sure we didn't concede again.

"And then we gradually grew into the game a little bit.

"As you said, we scored a good goal.

"Marko wasn't overly worked and that's the disappointment that we've conceded three goals.

"I wasn't stood on the side thinking we're going to get blown away. That may enter your head at the start of the week when going to play top of the league, good players, good team.

"I don't think they reached the heights they would have wanted to from speaking to one of their staff, but the important thing from their point of view is that they won the game."

"For us, it feels like a missed opportunity. It genuinely felt like we could get something from that game because of how it played out on the day.

"And of course a very soft penalty - that's the politest way I can put it - to see us go in at half-time trailing when the crowd were just starting to have murmurs.

Let's be right and of course, it did happen but they will have all turned up today expecting a pretty easy win."

On the penalty:

"When we scored we kind of said on the bench 'Maybe we have woken them up?'

"And maybe they get angry but that was not the case.

"We looked relatively comfortable. They have a lot of possession but we were okay with that.

"Today we decided that was what we would give up. But ultimately it is a terrible decision, it really is.

"No surprise to me. I promise you that wouldn't have happened at the other end.

"They end up telling you to calm down and things like that but they don't get it. They just don't get it and it is simply just not good enough.

"He is an experienced referee and that was an easy decision. He has got it wrong."

On Town's chances:

"Off the top of my head, I think Benno has whipped a great ball in and Flanno has got his head to it.

"I don't think it was close in the end but a yard lower and it would have been a great opportunity.

"And the big one is obviously Dan. He goes through, he takes a really big touch - I can kind of understand why he has had it but I think it is just a little too heavy.

"I was hoping that then he might have just got there and the keeper had committed, but the keeper did well and he made a save.

"It was probably hard to have beaten him with how close Dan ended up to the goalkeeper but that is what I am saying.

"You have to take the opportunities when you are playing a team that are top of the table."

On the third goal:

"In the end, they did what they needed to do, didn't they? But as I said you come here and there is one part of you that is hopeful and the challenge if they get a real head of steam up.

"Again conceding so early in the game you think 'Oh this could be one of those afternoons.' Thankfully the players did respond. I thought we did OK today. I let my thoughts be known after Monday. Today I thought we did OK.

"But OK is not good enough again, especially when you are playing a team that is going to be promoted into the Championship." 

On Jordan Shipley and Elliott Bennett:

"No matter what work we've done with Shipz you can tell he hasn't played for a while - he'd run himself out realistically.

"I thought Benno used his experience really well.

"On of the frustrations I had in the first half was that we didn't look after the ball anywhere near good enough.

"We know it's a good stadium, a good crowd, but we've got experienced lads.

"If I'm bringing the youth team here or a bunch of 18-year-olds, then you can maybe get it.

"Some experienced players were giving the ball away far too cheaply initially and it took us a while to get into it.

"After that we looked alright, but we have got to look after that ball far better especially when you come up against the quality of attacking players that Portsmouth have."

On the gap to the relegation zone:

"Yeah, 100% (there is still work to be done).

"Until it's mathematically proven that we're safe - and we hope that will be the case as soon as possible - the work has to continue.

"I go back to the first time I was here. We went to Oxford on the last day - we were near enough done to be fair - but you concede goals and football is very crazy sometimes.

"The good thing is the results have gone our way again. It's still in our hands.

"Next week we've got a home game followed by a trip to Bolton - we know how difficult that will probably be and how many goals they're scoring at home.

"So next Saturday it's a big game for us."


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