Guy Whittingham paid tribute to his team’s resolve after they went down fighting in the FA Cup.
Pompey’s 43-month wait for a win in the famous old tournament continues after they lost 2-1 at Stevenage on Saturday.
The glorious semi-final win over Spurs in 2010 was the last time the Blues tasted success in the competition.
They threw everything at Stevenage in a bid to end that run after being reduced to 10 men, when Gavin Mahon was sent off.
That spirit drew praise from Whittingham.
He said: ‘We were brave showed good application, good fitness levels and kept fighting. I’m really proud of them.
‘You know what you are going to get when you come to Stevenage.
‘It is going to be physical and tough and I thought we coped well with it.
‘They handled it well.
‘We kept pushing at them and created chances without things really falling for us.
‘Their first goal was a melee which fell to them.
‘We’ve had similar things like that not go our way.
‘That’s the rub of the green and what you get.’
Midfielder Mahon was sent off five minutes after the restart.
But Whittingham was impressed with the controlled manner in which Pompey regrouped and put pressure on Stevenage.
He said: ‘The team took on board what we said well when we lost a man.
‘We made changes at the right times.
‘We went brave against Oxford and got caught out.
‘Exeter went brave with 11 men against us and it nearly paid off.
‘And it nearly paid off for us.
‘It very nearly paid off thanks to the application of the players.
‘There’s room to be brave without being too gung-ho.’