Pompey’s ability on the ball has never been questioned.
But their performance at Cambridge showed they are also capable of securing victory through rugged rearguard resistance.
The visitors were masterful at the back as they expertly protected Conor Chaplin’s first half header.
David Forde’s goal never looked like being breached, despite Pompey having to play the final 30 minutes a man down following Amine Linganzi’s red card.
And Paul Cook was delighted to see his side offer the perfect response to any criticisms about their defending.
The Blues boss said: “We’d had a useful training week and I’ve been saying that I thought we were very close to being a really good team.
“Sometimes people can tire of comments like that, but I know our lads have got character. I see that every day.
“That was tested against Cambridge, especially when we went down to 10 men because you’re going to be put under pressure.
“But I thought we dealt so well with that and I can’t remember our opponents having any clear-cut chances.
“They put a lot of balls into our box, but we were aggressive with our defending. I’m not going to pick out individuals because we did that together.
“The game was perhaps a bit too easy for us last week and we got found out at the back. This time we were tested and certainly didn’t get found out.
“We did come under pressure and we showed everyone – including almost 2,000 Pompey fans – that we can defend.
“People have said at times that we’re a soft touch and those words go through me. That upsets me. We lack concentration at times and can get complacent, but we’re certainly not a soft touch.”
Chaplin netted his fifth goal of the season by converting Christian Burgess’ deep cross with a fine looping header.
Cook said: “Conor’s a fantastic young man. He’s a predator and is constantly on the end of things. The fans rightly love him.
“But it wasn’t all about him. I thought Noel Hunt was excellent when he came on and showed why he’s at this club.”
And Cook had no complains about Linganzi’s dismissal for a two-footed lunge on Conor Newton.
He said: “I thought it was a double red, perhaps a triple. I was about to kick off with the fourth official, but it would have been a waste of breath. People tell me that he won the ball, but you can’t tackle like that these days.”
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