Powell – ‘I had to give them belief’

Brian Jeeves
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Southend United 3-3 Portsmouth – Reaction

Turning the clock back to February 16, 2019, and a truly memorable Sky Bet League One encounter at Roots Hall Stadium…

CHRIS POWELL explained how he used his half-time pep-talk to good effect as his Southend United side staged a remarkable recovery to earn a share of the Sky Bet League One spoils against promotion-chasing Portsmouth at Roots Hall Stadium.

Blues trailed by three goals shortly after the half-hour mark, with Bryn Morris, Ben Close and Oli Hawkins all on target for Pompey. However, Simon Cox nodded the home side back into contention before the break. 

The former Republic of Ireland frontman reduced the deficit further from the penalty spot, then completed an incredible hat-trick with just three minutes remaining.

“At 3-1 I’m sure everyone’s thinking he’s got to have a go at the team at half-time but you’ve got to give them belief,” Powell explained 

“I spoke to them but tried to give them the belief that they can come back.

The Blues boss continued: “It was about keeping yourselves in the game and we certainly did that, and the crowd helped. It’s very easy to be negative, so I said to the players the fans stayed with you because you showed application, you showed the courage to pass the ball.

“I felt we gradually got control, got the goal and then second-half was all about doing our best to keep it locked. Nathan Bishop made a save just after half-time, I think a lot of people forgotten about that, and then it was all about trying to edge ourselves back in the game.”

Meanwhile, hat-trick hero, Cox, said: “Getting the hat-trick is something that is really, really nice personality. But to come from 3-0 down to a team that are going to be up there at the end of the season is even more pleasing.

“To show the belief, the character in the dressing room – this is massive for us, especially after the weeks we’ve had. Going down to ten men at Charlton for sixty-odd minutes, then a long trip to Doncaster and we were a little bit lacklustre in that performance. Then to come here and show the belief and desire to come back from 3-0 down speaks volumes for the players in the dressing room.”

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Brian Jeeves

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