Danny Cowley has hit back at critics who have labelled him as a ‘long-ball’ manager following back-t0-back wins since taking over at Portsmouth.
Cowley gained a reputation at Lincoln City for having a direct style of play which led to great success and multiple promotions, focusing his play around stocky striker Matt Rhead.
It was his results using these methods that saw Huddersfield Town pick him up in September 2019, but after keeping them in the Championship he was sacked last July, with owner Phil Hodgkinson wanting to go in a different direction with the club in terms of strategy and playing style.
He hired Leeds coach Carlos Corberan, who likes a short passing, high pressing style of play and that hasn’t brought the Terriers immediate results.
Some Pompey fans may have been worried that long-ball football would be coming to Fratton Park, but that hasn’t been the case at all as neat, intricate play led to Portsmouth being 2-0 up in the first half against Shrewsbury Town this weekend.
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Pompey held on for a 2-1 victory and it made Cowley’s start as head coach an unbeaten one, and he took the opportunity to fire back at people who perhaps label him as a hoof-ball merchant.
“It is the coach’s job to find the best way of playing with the players you have,” said Cowley, per The Mirror when talking about his style as Lincoln manager years ago.
“We love football to be played in a certain way but it is no good me having ideals sometimes.”
“We were pleased with the way we played,” Cowley continued as he moved on to his Pompey team’s performance against the Shrews.
“We like to see football played like that, we like to pass and move.
“They were good team goals with good finishes.”
With some of the play that Portsmouth created on Saturday, the myth that Cowley simply only knows a long ball style can probably be put to rest.
You won’t find many managers who actually want to play that way and he’s showing already that with a set of players who like to get the ball on the floor, he can get results.
There are many different levels to Cowley’s coaching skill-set, hence why he was able to save Huddersfield from relegation to League One last season, and it would be no surprise if he was to mastermind a promotion for Pompey through the play-offs this season.