John Mousinho had a single training session to work with his squad after being appointed Pompey’s head coach on Friday.
But that failed to stop them beating Exeter 2-0 at Fratton Park to record a first League One victory for three months.
A fine Marlon Pack volley broke the deadlock in the second half, with fellow midfielder Joe Morrell then wrapping up the points.
And Mousinho felt that the effort produced by his charges ensured they came away with all three points.
The Blues boss said: “It was an intense first 90 minutes and the result is brilliant, while there are elements of the performance we’re thrilled with.
“They key thing is that it wasn’t easy and what earned us the win was the work-rate of the lads in the second half.
“That was sprinkled with a bit of quality and you get the chance to show that if you do the other side of the game well.
"It was an intense first 90 minutes and the result is brilliant, while there are elements of the performance we’re thrilled with."
“It was tough for the lads because of everything that’s happened this week and all the changes, while we were facing a really good side.
“But there are some basic things you need to do in football and we started to win second balls, as well as running beyond to create spaces.
“We had to defend nine corners in the first half and we did that well, while we had Matt Macey to thank for a couple of magnificent saves.
“The opening goal just gave us a boost. It got the monkey off everyone’s back and we started to find some more belief after that.”
With regular skipper Clark Robertson currently sidelined through injury, Pack had the chance to wear the armband against the Grecians.
Mousinho said: “I played with Marlon when he was a young lad and knew he had that potential in him in terms of those leadership qualities.
“He shows that at the training ground, in the dressing room and on the pitch. I thought it would give him a boost.
“He’s a Portsmouth boy and it really means a lot to him to play for this club, but you need everyone to be a leader – whether you’re wearing the armband or not.”