PORTSMOUTH boss John Mousinho reckons the tension of the play-off final makes it at difficult game to predict.

With his Pompey side up as champions, Mousinho could sit and relax as a studio guest for Sky Sports in their coverage of the semi-finals.

Asked for his prediction after his former club Oxford United had overcome Peterborough United 2-1 on aggregate, he admitted Bolton should have the quality advantage but that the pressure on the occasion could be a leveller.

“If you look at the form of the two sides over the season, I think Bolton have been the better side consistently,” he said.

“But the play-offs do sometimes throw out those mad results and you never know what’s going to happen, especially in a one-off.

“You’ve probably seen over the two legs there (between Peterborough and Oxford), where Peterborough had the better chances and were probably the more dominant side over two legs but came away not winning it.

“You never know what’s going to happen, but I think Bolton are favourites going in. It’s going to be a really fascinating game, but I certainly think Bolton will fancy themselves.”

Mousinho has been taken with the start made by Oxford boss Des Buckingham, who had been a relative unknown before his arrival at the Kassam Stadium to replace Liam Manning in November. His previous experience in coaching had primarily been in India and New Zealand.

A strong start to the season tailed off but the U’s recovered to finish the campaign strongly with just one defeat in their final eight games.

Mousinho added: “Interestingly enough, when we talk about Des’ time so far and his first season over in England, it’s not been straightforward. He was under a lot of pressure two or three months ago.

“I think there were quite a few Oxford fans as well, who were probably questioning the appointment. I know that myself, so for Des to come through that is fantastic credit to him.

“He managed to block all that out, ignore the noise and get on with what has been a fantastic job towards the back end of the season.

“The form going into this game (against Peterborough) and his form over the past seven or eight games has been fully deserving to be in the play-off final.”