It was a Fratton Park performance that Danny Cowley felt was full of positives.
But he conceded that Pompey needed a little bit more quality at the top end of the pitch against Derby.
Clear-cut chances were at a premium throughout the goalless contest, but there was plenty of neat football on display in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Much of it came from the home team and Cowley was pleased with a lot of what he saw against the Rams.
The Blues boss said: “I thought it was a really competitive game between two good League One teams.
“You look at the quality that Derby have in their group, with Championship – and even Premier League – experience.
“But we acquitted ourselves well and were in the ascendency for large periods, getting to the final third time and time again.
“If we’re going to be critical of ourselves, then we just lacked a bit of quality with our end product, meaning we didn’t get value for our good play.
"We acquitted ourselves well and were in the ascendency for large periods, getting to the final third time and time again."
“We got the ball to Owen Dale quickly and he gave their left wing-back a difficult time, while we had so many counter-attacks.
“There was cross after cross going into the box and we couldn’t quite turn them into clear-cut chances.
“We were stopped by a lot of tactical fouls – the amount of times I saw Jay Mingi drive down the midfield and then get stopped. It happens in football, I understand that.
“But Derby are a really good team and if you end up finishing above them, then you’ve had a decent season.”
The lively Dale was named man-of-the-match by both the sponsors and the Sky Sports punditry team.
Cowley said: “He played with a real energy and intensity throughout – not just with the ball, but also against it.
“But there were a lot of good performances, with Jay and Marlon Pack doing brilliantly together in midfield.
“Zak Swanson also grew into the game and is doing better and better for us with every single match he plays.”