Paul Cook has called on Pompey to display more aggression in their attempts to escape their rut.
But he has no desire for a repeat of Christian Burgess’ hot-headed actions.
The Blues have allowed themselves to be bullied by sides on occasions, most recently Tuesday night’s defeat at Barnet.
They failed to stand up to the physical nature inflicted by Martin Allen’s side, who deservedly won.
In recent weeks, Pompey have also been outfought by the likes of Oxford United and Yeovil as their promotion aspirations have faltered.
Burgess sat out the Barnet encounter courtesy of his one-match ban for two yellow cards in two minutes at Huish Park.
Instead Matt Clarke took his place, yet couldn’t prevent a 1-0 defeat to the Bees.
And Cook acknowledges his side’s failings.
He said: ‘We need to be more aggressive in everything we do.
‘Whether that is clearances, in taking free-kicks, in shooting, we have to get an edge to us.
‘We think our quality is going to get us home – sometimes quality is just not enough.
‘But the other day with Christian he has to learn from that, it’s a man’s game and he has got to be able to manage that.
‘What happened with Zoko clearly upset Christian to the detriment where he lost his head completely and had to be sent off.
‘But there is a mitigating circumstance and that is the disappointment. We had a lad sent off.’
While Cook is not arguing against Burgess’ dismissal, he believes officials failed to spot an earlier elbow by Francois Zoko.
As a result of that action, the central defender was booked for retaliation moments later.
And Pompey have sent the Football Association a video clip of the initial skirmish between the pair.
Cook added: ‘Don’t get me wrong, Christian has got to go.
‘The disappointment is what Zoko did earlier goes unnoticed to a referee who is 10-yards away.
‘We have sent that clip. We are not trying to get Zoko into trouble.
‘We are just trying to genuinely say that Christian has been booked for an off-the-ball incident which the referee didn’t see it.
‘I am not sure Christian didn’t do anything, we are just saying.
‘We’re not arguing that Christian has been sent off, it’s just a disappointing case.’