Richie Barker surveyed the wreckage of Pompey’s dismal 1-0 defeat to Torquay and admitted: We are back in the mire.
The Blues turned in perhaps their worst display of the season at Fratton Park as they crashed to the team second from bottom of League Two.
It meant the gap to the relegation zone closed to just three points with Pompey in 18th place in the table.
But it was a golden opportunity to put some breathing space between themselves and the drop zone and the Blues wasted it.
And while the Pompey boss hid any anger at the performance, he admitted it left everyone looking over their shoulders once again.
Barker said: ‘It would have been a big part of putting some daylight between us and the teams at the bottom but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
‘So we have to get back on it and off we go again in the next game.
‘I’ve said it was going to be a long process.
‘I need players who can do it regularly, week in, week out and not two out of every three or one out of two.
‘So I think we’ve got work to do all over the park.
‘But we certainly never got carried away by the improved recent run.
‘This has put us back in it again.’
A crowd of nearly 15,000 turned out in force again but despite their best efforts to raise the team – particularly in a late push to snatch an equaliser – boos were heard at the final whistle at what many felt was an unacceptable performance.
And Barker understood the fans’ frustrations.
He said: ‘I can understand people being disappointed.
‘We’re all disappointed so it is what it is.
‘In terms of the performance, I think people saw us do the right things in the last half an hour.
‘We finished the game as the better team.
‘But a lot of our hard work from the previous few days unravelled.’
While Pompey have shown signs of improvement of late, it is now just two wins from Barker’s 10 games in charge since he succeeded Guy Whittingham.
But perhaps more of a concern was the lack of any attacking threat until the final few minutes when Ben Chorley and Wes Fogden both wasted decent chances.
But although Pompey failed to force Torquay goalkeeper Michael Poke to make any real save of note, Barker felt his side created enough chances to take something from the game.
The boss said: ‘There wasn’t a lot of anything really in that first half.
‘The second half was better and there were enough opportunities but it didn’t quite drop for us.
‘We created enough for someone to get on the end of something.
‘The positives are that we got stronger as the game went on.’
Get Neil Allen and Steve Wilson’s verdict on Saturday’s defeat by clicking here.