Kenny Jackett rung the changes for Pompey’s FA Cup clash with Arsenal at Fratton Park.
Gareth Evans – who wore the captain’s armband – Ellis Harrison, Marcus Harness, Ben Close, James Bolton and Steve Seddon all returned to the side.
Not that it seemed to affect the hosts, as they went toe-to-toe with their Premier League opponents throughout the first half.
But Sokratis Papastathopoulos fired the Gunners ahead in stoppage-time at the end of the first half and Eddie Nketiah wrapped things up immediately after the break.
With his side still involved in a fierce battle for promotion, however, Jackett had no regrets about mixing things up.
The Blues boss said: “With eight games in January and February, as well as seven in March, the side is going to change.
“We have quite a few players fit and available now and we have to use them – it’s no use if what’s perceived as your best side has no energy.
"We ran out of steam towards the end of last season and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen again."
“Players want to be out there, but they can see the big picture. We ran out of steam towards the end of last season and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“There’s been a high volume of matches for us and a really tough schedule, so you have to use common sense.”
Pompey looked bright before the break and Jackett was frustrated they could not go in all square at the interval.
He said: “There were moments around their box in the first half, with Marcus probably having our best opportunities.
“But when the crosses, corners and free-kick went into the box, David Luiz was usually the first head to it.
“We were putting set-pieces in with plenty of pace and just couldn’t make them count – we needed those moments to go for us.
“It was disappointing to go in behind because we could have really attacked them in the second half if was still 0-0.
“We never gave up, though, and put absolutely everything into our performance right until the very end.
“We’re pleased with what we’ve done in the competition this season and now we wish Arsenal all the best.”