Danny Cowley wanted to freshen up his Pompey squad ahead of a hectic run of three league games in eight days.
And yet making six changes failed to stop his side from securing an impressive 3-0 victory at Cardiff in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
All the goals arrived in the second half, with Joe Pigott’s opener added to by a Ronan Curtis penalty before Colby Bishop came off the bench to wrap things up.
Cowley was particularly pleased to see so many of his young players shine against Championship opposition.
The Blues boss said: “It’s a really good evening for us after making the amount of changes we did against a Championship club.
“That level of performance bodes well and shows the depth of our squad – we wouldn’t have been able to do that last season.
“There were five players in the starting 11 who are aged 21 or under and that’s great for the future of this football club.
"That level of performance bodes well and shows the depth of our squad – we wouldn’t have been able to do that last season."
“We wanted to keep things fresh ahead of three league games in a week – we need everyone fit and contributing.
“The young ones did well in pre-season and I’ve been saying that all along. If we are going to develop them, then we have to make sure our actions meet our words.
“They’ll be better for this performance and for Josh Griffiths, that’s two clean sheets in as many games.
“The experienced boys and those who came off the bench contributed as well, so it was a good night for us.”
Cardiff had a number of decent chances before the break, with Sean Raggett having to make one superb goal-line clearance.
Cowley said: “There were a few things we needed to tweak at the break because they were pressing aggressively and we had to find solutions.
“The players took that on board and implemented what we told them. I don’t mind who we get in round two, but a home draw would be nice.”