Writer: Mike Field
Date:Saturday March 15 2008
He's already refused to use excuses for the performance against Boro and today he had to admit the team are down, but we will bounce back.
Unfortunately I doubt we can now bounce back in time to make a Euro run anymore and although everyone will be rightly disappointed with that, and the manner in which we allowed ourselves to fall away we should all remember that we never expected to be in this position at the beginning of the season, so our achievement has still been pleasing, and that shouldn't be forgotten.
The fact we are looking disappointed to not get automatic qualification shows how far we come in such a short period of time.
I'm sure MON realises this to, but when speaking to the official site, he wanted to remind everyone that with 8 games left we still have 24 points to play for and he's determined that we will play for them.
'The overwhelming feeling is one of disappointment in the dressing room - not just with the result, but the manner of the defeat.
'The goals, especially the second one, were really unfortunate for us. I thought we had as much of the play as the home side in the first-half and we started off brightly.
'The first goal was a poor one from our point of view, but even from then I thought we were well in the game. The second goal was a freak goal.
'But even at half-time, 2-0 down, I thought we were still in the game and if we could score early enough then perhaps we'd be able to force the pace.
'We tried to do that and missed a glorious chance as Gabby got on the end of a dangerous cross from Shaun Maloney. We would have had plenty of time to get something from the game, but it didn't happen.
'Regardless of how we played though, we've been beaten. Statistics are all that matters in this game and we lost the game.'
The manner of the defeat is definitely unfortunate, we had more shots and more shots on target than Pompey but as O'Neill alludes to, it's goals that count not how many saves the opposition keeper makes or how many chances you create.
If you create them and fail to put them away you will drop points.
He continued: 'It's really disappointing for myself and the players. It's obviously disappointing for the fans who travelled down here today.
'But, whether this is a note of defiance or not, we're still there and we've got eight games left. There's a lot of disappointment in the dressing room, but also a determination to put it right.
'We've got eight games and 24 points left to play for. This was the first time we've failed to score in the league since September, so we know there are goals in our side. We'll work hard to get back to winning ways.'
Let's hope we can turn it around and although I now think our Euro dream is over in terms of automatic qualification the team deserve to push those above us close and to come back fighting even if we don't get there.
The worst thing possible would be for us to now fall away quietly and ruin all the good work we put in at the beginning of the season.
Date:Saturday March 15 2008
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