Hart denies Pompey are negative

17 April 2009 02:30
Paul Hart has hit back at critics of his efforts to drag Portsmouth clear of the relegation zone with a prosaic brand of functional football.Under Hart, Pompey have taken 10 points from seven Premier League games, compared to two from the previous nine, but some of the club's fans are crying out for a return to the more exciting football played under Harry Redknapp.Many were prepared to accept winning ugly but have soon tired of merely drawing ugly, especially at home as was the case against West Brom last week.But Hart, the club's director of youth development who is filling in as their third manager this season, insists he will not be swayed from a safety-first policy of grinding out the results needed to extend the club's top-flight membership into an eighth consecutive year.Ahead of Saturday's game with Bolton, he said: "I know it was a disappointment last week but the fact is we have been getting results and have been very close to getting all the right results."I listen to some people saying we are very negative but I don't understand that. In seven games we've hit the post in every one bar one and we've created chances to win them all. We've lost only one, to Chelsea."But right now we are here where we are, we have a bit of realism and we can't afford to get foolhardy and stupid in our quest."It's the sharp end of the season and even the top clubs will tell you it's not about silky football, it's about results."I'm here because we were in a mess and my task is to keep us up."I'll be judged on that because the supporters are desperate for us to stay in the Premier League and we all want the same thing, but whether I'll change things next season if I'm still here (as manager) I'm not even going to talk about it."To start fantasising about that would be totally wrong and totally disrespectful to everybody concerned. Staying up is all I'm focused on."With seven games to go Pompey have 34 points but their next three games after Saturday are at Manchester United, Newcastle and home to Arsenal.Fans are starting to fidget again because they believed maximum points from the home games with Albion and Bolton would virtually secure survival, and wondered why Hart was sticking with Peter Crouch as a lone striker and ignoring the claims of Greek signing Theofanis Gekas.Gekas, on loan from German club Bayer Leverkusen, has only played for one minute as a substitute despite an impressive record.But he rejected a request from Hart to play in the reserves and the manager has never seen him play live.Hart insisted: "I have never had a problem with him. I just said would he like to play in the reserves and you know what happened, but when I have an argument I just say my piece, walk away and never hold grudges."Theo is fine in terms of my relationship with him but everybody is fine and there's enough people here striving for us to stay in this division."

Source: Eurosport