It was a daunting task for Joe Gallen to negotiate in his first game as Pompey’s caretaker manager.
A trip to London Road to take on second placed Peterborough was about as difficult as you could ask for.
And ultimately it was the hosts who claimed all three points, courtesy of an unfortunate Rasmus Nicolaisen own-goal.
But the Blues dominated after the interval and Gallen felt they deserved to take something from the contest.
He said: “We played with a lot of spirit, a lot of heart and – particularly in the second half – a lot of quality. We should have got at least a point.
“I thought we dominated after the break and it’s bitterly disappointing for us to lose to such a poor goal.
“We tried to soak up some pressure and play on the break and it was apparent that we were becoming more of a threat.
"We played with a lot of spirit, a lot of heart and – particularly in the second half – a lot of quality."
“At half-time we looked to regroup, go over the game-plan again and instil some confidence in the players.
“I was pleased with our attitude, spirit and commitment level. I thought that, overall, we were the better side on the night.
“But it’s another loss, so that’s frustrating. There can’t be too many ‘well dones’ because we were beaten again – and that’s the most important aspect, even if we didn’t deserve it.
“That performance should certainly give everyone a lot of belief and confidence going forward, though.
“If I’m around I’ll make sure they keep playing like that, but we also need that little bit more quality in the final third.”
Michael Jacobs, John Marquis and Ellis Harrison were all sidelined for the match and the latter will be missing for some time.
Gallen said: “Ellis is probably going to be out for the rest of the season after injuring his lateral knee ligaments, which is a blow for us.
“He actually did it in the Gillingham game a few weeks ago and has tried to play through it – that shows the kind of person he is.”