Ricky Holmes admits Pompey have now accepted the fact that they need to grind out results.
The Blues winger played a key role in the 0-0 draw at Hartlepool at the weekend and showed his trademark work ethic in blunting the home side’s full-back from making forward runs.
While Holmes obviously prefers creating and attacking, he understands what is required as Pompey search for defensive consistency tonight at home to Wycombe.
Holmes said: ‘It can’t be pretty every game.
‘This league is about grinding out results.
‘As players, we are in League Two for a reason.
‘If we were better than we are, we would be playing at the top levels. We have to understand that.
‘So sometimes it might not be pretty on the eye to defend in numbers, but it feels good as a player.
‘Afterwards, it felt like a win at Hartlepool.
‘I don’t think it was the point – it was the clean sheet. That was a big positive.
‘That clean sheet had been eluding us so now we can build on that.
‘And we know we can play better football at Fratton Park.’
Pompey’s awful defensive record has left them struggling for consistent results this term.
But Holmes takes his share of the blame for that and believes the midfielders and forwards need to play their part.
‘Our problem hasn’t been scoring goals, it’s been leaking goals,’ he said.
‘We were given licence to go forward but we were getting caught. The number of goals against does not lie.
‘But you don’t put the blame on the boys in the defence or the goalkeeper.
‘As a unit, we haven’t been strong enough.
‘A lot of blame has been on the defence lately but it’s a team game.
‘You start defending from the front.
‘If we let them have two easy passes into the strikers, then we’re not doing our job properly as forwards. I think that was the case sometimes.
‘So we went back to basics at Hartlepool. Myself and Barch (Andy Barcham) were defending most of the game.’
Holmes added: ‘I think we showed we can be robust in defence and be a solid unit to get results away from home.
‘Now we need to do it at Fratton Park.
‘We’ve been working hard on it in training and we’re still working hard on it.’
– STEVE WILSON