Andy Awford insists he will not allow Pompey to coast for the rest of the season after their distant play-off dreams were effectively ended by AFC Wimbledon.
The dismal 1-0 defeat saw the Blues leapfrogged by their opponents and left them in 13th place in League Two – nine points adrift of the final play-off berth.
We have loads to play for. It’s not like the season is just going to ebb awayAndy Awford
Pompey need seven wins out of their final eight games to reach 70 points, which is the usual minimum requirement for a top-seven position.
And on the evidence of their grim display at Kingsmeadow – where they created so few chances – it seems decidedly unlikely they will now make a late charge.
But while Awford has not written anything off, he believes his players have plenty left to play for and will demand that standards are met.
The Blues boss said: ‘Until it’s mathematically impossible, of course everyone will still hope.
‘As I have always said, we will just get as many points as we can.
‘There are eight games to go and there are still plenty of points to play for.
‘We will give it everything to keep trying to finish as high up the league as we can.
‘We have a duty to play for the supporters and pride for ourselves.
‘We have loads to play for. It’s not like the season is just going to ebb away.
‘I won’t allow that to happen.
‘I will make sure we go out there and give it our all in every single game.
‘Where that takes us, it takes us.
‘I’ve been saying that five or six games ago and that hasn’t changed with this defeat.’
Aside from giving their all for the paying public, Awford also knows his troops have their livelihoods at stake.
He said: ‘I don’t think it’s difficult here because of the support we have.
‘If you are not up for it, it’s wrong.
‘The motivation is there because we are the big club in this league and the support we get.
‘And there are lots of contracts to play for so that should be another motivation.’
Pompey were undone by a sixth-minute winner when the recalled Ben Chorley diverted Craig Tanner’s shot past a helpless Paul Jones.
But in a poor game, Awford’s side never looked like finding an equaliser with a Matt Tubbs’ first-half header their only genuine effort on goal.
Awford said: ‘I’m frustrated and disappointed.
‘We switched off and one piece of sloppy defending has cost us.
‘The players agreed that for the amount of possession that we had, we’ve got to do better in the final third.
‘We didn’t do enough with the ball.
‘We had a lot of opportunities to get the ball into the box or to make better runs and we didn’t do that.
‘Our attacking play wasn’t good enough.’