Ollie backs Phillips despite misses

Matty Phillips
Matty Phillips
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MATT Phillips earned praise from his boss, not stick, after missing the best two chances at Portsmouth.

The winger showcased his explosive pace by twice getting behind Pompey’s back four in the opening half at Fratton Park.

But when through on goal, the 20-year-old failed to convert.

Holloway says the important thing is for Phillips to continue being positive, get in the positions to score, and to carry on shooting.

“I picked him on Saturday thinking he would win me the game.

“He had a couple of chances to possibly do that,” said the manager.

“His pace got him in those positions but he couldn’t finish it, and that is what happens with young players sometimes.

“It takes all good strikers four chances to score one.

Matt had two chances on the day, and unfortunately he didn’t take either of them.

“Such is life, but I thought his timing to get in those positions and the way he was positive and still wanted the ball after missing those chances was great.”

Phillips has scored one goal for the Seasiders, on his debut, against Blackburn in the Premier League last year.

He missed the start of this season to represent England in the Under 20s World Cup, and Holloway believes that might have just set the youngster back slightly.

“Whatever happened to him while he was with England, I don’t know,” added the manager.

“But to play four games, and not score a goal in a tournament as a group, then that can dent you. But when we had him in Portugal at our training camp before the season began, he looked terrific.

“He was really sharp and bright.

“I still feel the same. I think I have some very exciting widemen who can run, and Matt is certainly one of them.”