Danny Cowley admitted that Pompey’s performance needed plenty of work.
But he was proud of the way they put adversity to one side and got the new season off to a winning start at Fleetwood.
Lee Brown arrowed a shot into the bottom corner on the hour mark to ensure the points would be heading back to the south coast.
And after Shaun Williams limped off during the warm-up – forcing defender Connor Ogilvie to play in midfield – Cowley was pleased with the attitude shown by his troops.
The Blues boss said: “It’s been an incredibly challenging week and so that was a really important win for us.
“We had a difficult journey up on the Friday. It took us about nine hours and we didn’t arrive until after 9pm.
“That meant we unfortunately lost Shaun in the warm-up to a stiff back. It’s low level, but he was having spasms and then the risk of soft tissue injuries multiply.
“We’d primed Connor because we only have two midfielders. He’d never played there in his senior career – he has now.
“So we asked him to be a mixture of Kante and Pirlo, and he was the ginger version! He did just great.
"There are a lot of excuses, but we chose not to take them and performed with a real grit and determination to get the points."
“Ronan Curtis’ partner also had a miscarriage earlier in the week and that’s just the saddest news. It certainly puts football into perspective.
“I send my love to them both, as well as their families. It says a lot about him that he showed a commitment to play for the group and this club.
“With everything going on in the background, it was a brilliant result and I’m really proud of the players.
“There are a lot of excuses, but we chose not to take them and performed with a real grit and determination to get the points.
“We dug in and fought our way through. We weren’t at our best technically or tactically and that’s certainly not how we want to play, but we found a way to win.
“I was delighted for the fans because so many of them had a difficult journey up, but they were excellent.”
The captain’s armband was shared around during pre-season, but it was defender Clark Robertson wearing it at Highbury Stadium.
Cowley said: “He has been such a consistent performer and incredible professional with great attitude and work ethic.
“Clark is a top player for us and we do see real leadership qualities in him, so we want to drag that out.”