Danny Cowley only had one training session to work with his new side before they took to the pitch against Ipswich.
But along with brother Nicky, Pompey’s new head coach still managed to inspire them to a battling 2-1 success at Fratton Park.
James Norwood had fired Paul Cook’s Tractor Boys into the lead, only for Tom Naylor to head the hosts back on level terms.
Marcus Harness then struck the winner after the break, ending a five-match losing run in all competitions.
And Cowley was full of praise for the effort shown by his troops to secure a valuable three points that takes them up to seventh in the League One standings.
The Blues boss said: “It’s a good start and an important win, but credit has to go to the staff and the players.
“We have to recognise the week they’ve had after losing the Papa John’s Trophy final at Wembley after extra-time.
“Then their manager – who the dressing room thought a lot of – has lost his job, followed by having to quickly go to Peterborough in the league.
“That takes a lot out of you, both physically and emotionally, but the commitment and the character were excellent.
“It was never going to be perfect, although I thought we were 10-out-of-10 in terms of our mindset and attitude.
"Ryan Williams’ work ethic – wow! If you look at his numbers for running this week, it shows incredible determination."
“Ryan Williams’ work ethic – wow! If you look at his numbers for running this week, it shows incredible determination.
“I tried to light up their eyes on Friday and bring an energy and enthusiasm. There were some clear messages and you could see a real intensity.
“We didn’t play very well in the first half, but showed determination and grit to be able to get through that period. Sometimes you have to fight your way into games.
“There were some tactical tweaks after the break and we had better control, with more rhythm, although there’s still plenty to work on.”
The international break means that Pompey now have a rare midweek without a game, which Cowley has welcomed.
He said: “It’s great timing for us because it allows to take stock and look for areas where we think we can add.
“We can start to get some of the principles and concepts together. The most exciting part for me is that I can see loads of things I can help the players with.
“I wish I had a magic wand, but Nicky and I will work hard on the training ground to ensure it becomes like a choregraphed dance.”