Gareth Evans warned Pompey they are not as good as they think they are.
And the winger told his team-mates letting their work-rate levels slip will result in more defeats like Saturday’s loss at Accrington.
Paul Cook’s men fell to a 1-0 reverse at the Crown Ground as their four-game winning run in the league came to an end.
They could have no arguments with the result as they turned in a poor performance against John Coleman’s side.
Evans pinpointed a lack of graft from his players as the major factor in their loss.
He feels they aren’t talented enough to take such liberties against their opponents in League Two.
Evans said: ‘Maybe we’re not as good we think we are.
‘We can’t rest on our laurels. We can’t swan in and think the game is won before a ball is kicked.
‘We need to remember what has been getting us the wins in the past four games.
‘It’s about working hard on and off the ball, and I don’t think we worked hard enough on and off the ball.
‘That’s why we lost and it’s frustrating really.’
Evans admitted he was at a loss for the reasons Pompey let their standards slip against Accrington.
The 28-year-old outlined the build-up to the game and felt it couldn’t have gone better.
Despite accepting his team couldn’t complain at the loss, the makeshift right-back didn’t feel his team struggled with the threat their opponents offered.
Evans said: ‘I’ve been a professional footballer for a long time now, but it’s still hard to put your finger on why it happens.
‘Sometimes you just turn up and it happens. It was a flat performance from start to finish.
‘We came up on Thursday and prepared right for the game.
‘We trained at Blackburn and it all went well.
‘It’s just so frustrating when that happens, though.
‘I didn’t feel like we were really under any pressure or going to lose the game, though.
‘But I don’t think we can have any complaints.’
Evans once again slotted in at right-back with Adam Buxton still recovering from an ankle injury as he waits to make his Pompey bow.
The former Manchester United trainee was one of the few players to perform to a reasonable level, and tried to make his mark going forward as Pompey chased the game.
He said: ‘That was frustration really.
‘I was trying to help out defensively and we weren’t really under too much pressure.
‘Sometimes you just have to try to make things happen.’
– JORDAN CROSS