Andy Awford believes Pompey’s fixture list has taken its toll on his playing squad.
Saturday’s Accrington trip represented a fifth game in a hectic 15 days for the wilting Blues.
Awford’s men had to settle for a 1-1 draw, despite the hosts playing the final 37 minutes of the clash with 10 men following the dismissal of Anthony Barry.
Yet it was Pompey’s first-half performance which annoyed their manager, prompting strong words at half-time.
And the newly-crowned February manager of the month believed his team looked weary.
He said: ‘Some looked a little bit tired.
‘It’s the first time on our good recent run it has been like that.
‘But we have a free week now, so can get everybody rested and recovered and ready to go again on Saturday against Luton.
‘The players have given their absolute all – every single one has been bang up for it – yet the first half the tempo and gusto wasn’t quite there.
‘We were a yard off it for me, although in the second half we were a lot better – even before Accrington had the man sent off.
The players have given their absolute all – every single one has been bang up for it – yet the first half the tempo and gusto wasn’t quite there.Andy Awford
‘I let them know at half-time that I knew they were tired but they had to up it and they did, fair play to them.
‘We did alright overall, now we have got to go again on Saturday.
‘We have to get everybody back to normal, have a good week’s training, recover properly and then start work for the visit of Luton.’
Josh Windass opened the scoring for Accrington direct from a free-kick after 16 minutes but four minutes later Ryan Taylor levelled with a header.