Leam Richardson believes Pompey’s players served up the perfect response.
And in the process the Blues’ assistant boss is convinced they demonstrated why Paul Cook continues to back their ability.
Pompey completed an impressive 3-1 victory over Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
Gareth Evans, Michael Smith and substitute Marc McNulty all netted as they comfortably saw off their promotion rivals.
The previous outing produced a dismal display in a 1-0 Fratton Park defeat to Leyton Orient.
Yet they were back to their best in a result which saw Pompey move up to fifth spot in League Two.
Richardson said: ‘That reaction was what we wanted.
‘Leyton Orient was the first-time the lads have been so-called second-best for whatever reason, but we expected a good game on Saturday.
‘Bristol Rovers came full of confidence, full of good players, our lads needed a response and certainly gave one.
‘They have had to react a couple of times this year and have always done it, Bristol Rovers was no difference.
‘The lads have worked as hard as they normally do in the build-up and know the task in front of them – thankfully they came through.
‘The manager is a very loyal manager, I have worked with him now for a few years, he doesn’t really necessarily desert his players.
‘We got a lot of criticism last week and he will stand there and take all the criticism for the players and will pick them again because he believes in them.
‘Thankfully on Saturday it paid dividends,they produced for him and deservedly collected a victory against a good team.’
– NEIL ALLEN