Portsmouth boss delivers verdict on the key factors in Sunderland win

Danny Cowley praised his Portsmouth side for managing the dire conditions at Fratton Park to secure a thumping 4-0 win on Saturday afternoon.

Standing water on the turf and swirling winds above made for a frenetic contest, but Cowley’s side were more than worth their 3-0 lead at the interval.

They would go on to add a fourth in at times farcical second half as the pitch continued to worsen.

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Cowley praised his side for managing the situation, with Lee Johnson hugely critical of the way as a group Sunderland been slow to respond.

Portsmouth outplayed Sunderland in difficult conditions at Fratton Park

The Portsmouth boss said his side were an overdue a reward for their pressing game, which the Black Cats struggled to respond to throughout. Cowley also explained his surprise decision to name an unchanged XI despite their poor recent form.

“The players needed that, the staff needed it and our wonderful supporters certainly needed it,” he said.

“It was a really good performance and so now we have to make sure we use it as a catalyst to push on.

“We decided to go with the same team [that lost at Burton] and knew we’d be criticised for that if it didn’t work out.

"But I could see the hurt in their eyes and they felt they owed each other, so there was a huge motivation.

“The conditions meant we had to formulate a game-plan and we dealt with them really well, showing an energy, intensity and purpose.

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“Statistically, we’re the best pressing team in the division and have had the most entries into the final third.

“But we haven’t turned them into goalscoring opportunities and when we have, we haven’t taken them.

“So this result is pleasing and although we now have the international break, the boys will be in training all week and looking to build on it.”

Cowley said his groundstaff were ‘men of the match for getting the game on.

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“We were really good going into the shallow end,” he joked.

“I didn’t think it was that bad, especially after we gave Joe Morrell some armbands!

“It’s English football, I thought it was great. We anticipated it being like that and prepared for it.

“We couldn’t take so much risk in our own half, but I thought we managed the conditions really well.”

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