by Neil Weld
It has been a common complaint for Michael Appleton this season.
But Pompey again conceded first at Meadow Lane in a 3-0 defeat against high-flying Notts County.
The Blues have given their opponents a head-start in eight of their League One clashes so far this term.
Against the Magpies, some slack defending allowed Yoann Arquin to turn home a corner from close range.
Alan Judge then added a screamer after the interval, before Arquin bagged a third as County stuck the boot into a below-par Pompey.
And Appleton has warned his troops that they have come firing out of the blocks if they want to turn around their poor form.
The Blues boss said: “The timing of the goals hurt us in a big way. Conceding in the first five minutes of each half left us with a big mountain to climb.
“You’ve got to get the first goal in games to give yourself an opportunity. We keep kicking ourselves in the teeth by conceding first.
“We were trying to get back into the game and create some decent chances and then we concede again at the start of the second half.
“I didn’t see the second goal coming and it came from a long way out, but Mikkel Andersen will be disappointed to concede from that distance.
“I didn’t think we had it in us at the end. That’s why it was important when the third goal went in that we stayed strong and didn’t concede another.
“We could have opened up and gone gung-ho at the end and lost by five or six. Sometimes you have to be sensible, take the result on the chin and move on to the next game.
“Ashley Westwood lost his father in the early hours of Friday morning, so it’s been a really difficult couple of days.
“But we’re not going to start feeling sorry for ourselves – we’re too far down the line for that.”
Appleton now has a whole week with his players on the training pitch before Pompey host Scunthorpe next Saturday.
He said: “We have to keep plugging away and I believe if you keep doing that over and over again, eventually you’re going to get the right results.
“We’ll look at the good bits again with the players to remind them what they can do. But the biggest thing we’ve got to get into their heads is how important that first goal is.
“There’s about five or six players struggling with confidence – some will need an arm round the shoulder and some need a rollicking.
“We’ll do that during the week and hopefully we’ll get a better result at Fratton next Saturday.”