Steve Cotterill exit has united Portsmouth, says Dave Kitson

Dave Kitson
Kitson has scored nine goals since his arrival from Stoke in September 2010

Portsmouth striker Dave Kitson says the team are more united following the departure of manager Steve Cotterill to Nottingham Forest.

Pompey are currently searching for Cotterill's replacement but Kitson says he has noticed a change at the club.

"There was a togetherness there tonight that perhaps wasn't there before," Kitson told BBC Radio Solent after Portsmouth's 1-0 defeat by Ipswich.

"I think that togetherness has been brought about by Steve's departure."

And Kitson said that the side, which defeated Barnsley 2-0 at the weekend, is enjoying the leadership of caretaker managers Guy Whittingham and Stuart Gray.

"We had a little chat and we are not playing with any pressure and you can see that with the way we are playing our football," added 31-year-old Kitson. "We really took the game to Ipswich.

"As much as we all tried our hardest for Steve when he was here, it is just a different style of management that seems to suit us a little bit more.

"It is early days and it has only been two games and we have won one and lost one so we can't really point to results in that respect, but that's just the way it feels and I can only say how it feels.

"We are playing with a little less pressure on us and we feel free to play balls we wouldn't normally play and things like that.

Portsmouth playing with freedom now - Kitson

"Steve went with everyone's best wishes but sometimes I think a change is good for a team and for the players."

Kitson also admitted that the fact that a future Pompey manager could be watching the side provided an extra incentive for the side's players.

"There is an element of us playing as if we are being watched by someone," said the former Stoke striker.

"That's not pressure, it is showing what you can do, that's the mentality.

"We are good players and we are a good team and hopefully that attitude will continue when there is an appointment. I think you can see we played for each other out there tonight."