Danny Cowley’s winning return to management is no shock given his record.
But Portsmouth’s slick style might be – especially to critics including Huddersfield chairman Phil Hodgkinson.
Cowley and his brother Nicky were sacked by the Terriers last July despite taking over when the club were in the Championship drop zone before steering them to 18th.
Hodgkinson cited a “different vision” as he hired Spaniard Carlos Corberán, who worked under Marcelo Bielsa.
The move is yet to deliver progress with Huddersfield still 18th but Portsmouth aren’t complaining.
They are up to fifth in League One after six points from two games under the Cowleys.
Pompey blew away Shrewsbury in an impressive first half display of decent attacking football as they raced into a 2-0 lead before eventually prevailing 2-1.
Cowley is proving he is not merely a long ball merchant after taking Lincoln from Non-League to League One utilising 6ft 3in Matt Rhead upfront who also starred in a famous FA Cup run to the quarter-finals.
The new Pompey boss,42, explained: “I love match-days and I have managed for nearly 14 seasons non-stop without missing a game.
“The first game I missed was the last game of last season because unfortunately we were sacked at Huddersfield.
“We picked up Huddersfield with the objective of staying in the division.
“They had one win in 36 games and one point after nine games and no club had ever stayed in the Championship after that.
“We had to find a way as a group and we were quite proud of how much progress we made.
“Maybe because of our success at Lincoln, we had that cup run and inherited Matt Rhead who is such a big targetman.
“If you are going to play Matt, you have to find the best way of playing and commit to him.
“But by the time we won League Two we were playing in a much more controlled way.
“It is the coach’s job to find the best way of playing with the players you have.
“We love football to be played in a certain way but it is no good me having ideals sometimes.”
Kenny Jackett’s successor’s side led at the break from goals by Marcus Harness and John Marquis.
But they had to dig after Nathanael Ogbeta pulled a fine goal back before 16-goal Marquis got a straight red for clattering sub Harry Chapman.
Cowley added: “We were pleased with the way we played.
“We like to see football played like that, we like to pass and move.
“They were good team goals with good finishes.”
Cowley plans to appeal Marquis’ dismissal as he doesn’t want to lose the striker as the play-off race hots up.
His old club Lincoln , who Cowley bossed from May 2016-September 2019, are also in the thick of it.
He smiled: “Lincoln have already played Portsmouth twice.
“We feel very proud and privileged to be at Portsmouth, you can feel the tradition and history.”
The Cowleys have only signed an initial deal until the end of the season but with results like this and the way they spoke about the club’s academy, you sense it will be a long-term relationship.