keeper hits out

Pompey were right to sack Adams, says James

February 14, 2009

David James accepts his share of the "guilt'' for Portsmouth's plight - but believes the majority of the blame lies squarely at the door of former manager Tony Adams.

James will set a new record of 536 Premier League appearances when he runs out against one of his former clubs, Manchester City, at Fratton Park.

But although he is immensely proud of that achievement, James insists he is more concerned Pompey revert to their old strengths and repair the damage done under Adams.

James believes Adams was too soft and never gave the players the guidance and even the dressing downs they needed.

He is encouraged by speculation linking Sven-Goran Eriksson with the job and has been lifted by the appointment of coach Brian Kidd as an assistant to caretaker manager Paul Hart.

But after just two wins in 16 league games under Adams and a position just one point above the relegation zone, James admitted: "I think the time was right (to change the manager).

"We're all guilty as players for individual mistakes which have cost us, but as a team we were not set up to replicate what we did last season.

"Players don't pick the team and individual mistakes are obviously to blame to a degree, but when that happens time and time again things have to be said or else people get used to it and take it as the norm.''

FA Cup holders Portsmouth were seventh in the table when Harry Redknapp left after a heavy defeat to Braga in the UEFA Cup, and early signs under Adams were promising - including a 2-2 draw with AC Milan.

Star players Jermain Defoe and Lassana Diarra were sold in the transfer window but James added: "We are still basically the same team as in the first half of last season and we've still got enough quality to stay up.

"I certainly don't want to go down to the Championship because I did it before with West Ham, but we've got only 14 games to save ourselves and need strong management.

"It is a strong-minded team here but all players need guidance. They need to be told what is expected of them and what their role is.

"You need somebody who is going to address situations that have been repeated this season here on numerous occasions.

"It has to be said it has been a little bit quiet on occasions when we lost matches that we really shouldn't have. Things were not great, I think it's fair to say.

"When we've lost some games in the past Harry (Redknapp) has come in and torn strips off everybody. He would let off steam and maybe sometimes apologise the next day but you needed that.

"Yet now teams are running through us sometimes and we've looked vulnerable, whereas last season we nearly always looked capable of getting a 1-0 win or a goalless draw and we were not scared of anybody. We've got to be like that again.''

During his 22-match tenure, Adams claimed on several occasions he had given his team strong criticism, but outwardly his first real sign of emotion came when he kicked out at a water bottle after Liverpool's second equaliser last Saturday.

Reminded of that, James said somewhat cryptically: "That's a start I suppose.

"And, yes, there were words said after the previous game and it has happened before but I don't consider it is my job to go effing and blinding at people, even though sometimes I have done. Somebody has to do it, though.

"When I'm working with England, Mr Capello never hesitates to let you know just what he thinks and you need to hear that.

"I've played every England game for him but there is something wrong somewhere if I'm England number one and have still let in 42 goals for Portsmouth.''

Pompey remain optimistic of landing Eriksson despite his focus on steering Mexico to the next World Cup finals.

James admits the Swede does not exactly have a reputation for verbally blasting his players into action.

But he added: "Some managers I've had were not renowned for being vocal but have had a team around them who are.

"I don't know who is coming in but names have been mentioned. Sven is not one for ranting and raving but he makes it clear that what he says is what he means. There is no ambiguity with him, he's straight down the line.

"Now we have a number two here (Brian Kidd) who worked with Sven in a very successful partnership for a decent amount of time and I would argue that if Portsmouth want to continue in the old (ambitious) vein, they should appoint a manager who suits that.''