Colchester United were ‘naive’ and Portsmouth were ‘braver’ – U’s boss John McGreal

John McGreal urges on his players from the touch-line during Saturday's 4-0 home defeat to Portsmout

John McGreal urges on his players from the touch-line during Saturday's 4-0 home defeat to Portsmouth. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, pinpointed Portsmouth’s “bravery” and his own side’s “naivety” as the prime reasons for Saturday’s 4-0 home defeat.

McGreal had no complaints with the emphatic score-line, although he felt frustrated that he had not been able to field his strongest team, due to the recent spate of long-term injuries.

“We came across a good team today,” admitted McGreal.

“It would be nice if we had had our strongest team out against their team, after what has gone on, but is hasn’t been that way for a while.

“But again, you can’t take anything away from Portsmouth. I thought they were excellent.

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“It’s time for us to regroup again, but Portsmouth are in the top three for a reason – they are a very good team.

“I thought we started quite brightly, but they showed a lot of bravery at the right times, and we showed a lot of naivety, and took a backward step.

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“We had asked our boys to be on the front foot, but I thought Portsmouth were braver, and that’s what dictated the game.

“Overall, it was disappointing, especially in view of our good home form, and of course it’s a little bit of a setback (in terms of reaching the play-offs), although we are only three points off the top seven.

“I thought that we started well, but then again I don’t think that we were brave enough today. That little bit of naivety crept in.

“We’ve got the group that we have got, and we’ve got to go with that group. There was no want of trying, even late on Brennan (Dickenson) was coming in off the line, trying to create problems.

“We will now try and do something better for the game on Tuesday,” added McGreal, with reference to tomorrow night’s home game against play-off rivals Mansfield.

The U’s were only trailing 1-0 at the break, but conceded a second goal through Kyle Bennett within 40 seconds of the restart.

McGreal said: “We were still in the game at half-time, and I was content to be just 1-0 down. I tried to switch things around, taking Szmods (Sammie Szmodics) off and bringing Taz (Tarique Fosu) on, knowing he can adapt. But I think the second goal was a poor goal to give away, straight away. You are then playing catch-up.”

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