POMPEY boss Michael Appleton reflected on the humbling at Carlisle and admitted: It’s a reality check.
The Blues were totally outfought by the Cumbrians as they went down to a 4-2 defeat at Brunton Park on Saturday.
Appleton feels the result was a wake-up call for both fans and players alike.
His side fell apart at the back for the goals.
They paid the price for defending the 36-year-old branded ‘kamikaze’.
Appleton believes the result has told him much about the squad he has assembled in record time – with many off the pace.
He delivered a no-holds-barred account of a performance which left him seething.
Appleton said: ‘All four goals were preventable. It was kamikaze at times.
‘I learned a lot about a lot of our players.
‘Hopefully there will be a realisation now for everyone and we will come back down to earth.
‘It’s going to be a tough season and a long season.
‘We are going to need a lot of support – and continued support from our fans, who were magnificent again.
‘We are going to have more good days than bad days, but this was a bad day.
‘The most disappointing thing is I think we didn’t work hard enough to win a game of football.
‘Whether you are good enough technically and tactically is something different.
‘But you work your socks off first and foremost.
‘The players were aware they would be up against a team with the bit between the teeth.
‘I don’t think any team at this level can play better football than we do – but you have to earn the right to do that.
‘Even if we had come away with a point I would have been furious inside because we didn’t go about it the right way.
‘It’s a given you start the game how you end it – 100mph on the front foot.
‘We never gave ourselves the chance to win the game at any point.
‘It was a chance missed – a big, big chance.
‘If we were at the races we would have won the game.’
Appleton has made it clear he is desperate to bring a new signing in this week with his tiny squad creaking.
Kevin Long’s dismissal for two bookings means he will miss the clash with Oldham at Fratton Park on Saturday due to suspension.
Pompey also have Lee Williamson (hamstring), Kieran Djilali (back) and Adam Webster (hip) sidelined.
Appleton said: ‘We have to bring in a defender this week because we haven’t got any.
‘We have Lee Williamson, Kieran Djilali and Adam Webster injured – and Kevin Long missing.
‘If we are able to bring someone else in it’s an absolute priority.
‘I don’t know if I can but I’ll be pushing very hard.
‘We’ll have to see if there’s any people out there who can help us in any way, shape or form.’