Andy Awford insisted Ben Chorley and his three team-mates dropped for the trip to Cheltenham had not been ‘bombed’.
But Pompey’s boss heaped praise on the recalled Jack Whatmough for his Whaddon Road display.
The teenager was back in the centre of defence in place of Chorley after missing the defeat to Accrington Stanley.
Craig Westcarr, Matt Fish and Miles Storey were also left out of the side to face the Robins.
Whatmough responded with an accomplished display in Saturday’s 1-1 draw, capped by assisting Nigel Atangana’s second-half equaliser.
And Awford was delighted with the youngster’s showing.
He said: ‘For this particular game we felt it was the best way to go to make those changes.
‘Nobody is bombed as such, everybody has a part to play, we will go again today.
‘Jack was reminiscent of our performance.
‘He grew into the game and that was how we played.
‘We got better and stronger as the game went on and so did he. I was pleased with him.
‘A couple of times he has managed to come out and pass the ball and that is good.
‘The way they played, with one up, our two centre halves had a bit of the ball and he has used that well and has that ability.
‘I have worked with Jack for a long time and he can do that. He is encouraged to do it. I have no problem with him doing that from the centre circle.
‘I couldn’t select him for the last game, that is why he wasn’t in contention.
‘I felt he needed a reserve game to get his fitness levels up – but I had no problem on Saturday with him.’