Bondz N’Gala rued the costly disputed penalty at Fleetwood but admitted: It was sloppy errors which cost us.
Pompey’s recent defensive resilience unravelled in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Fleetwood.
Goals from Jon Parkin and Jamille Matt did the damage either side of Antoni Sarcevic’s penalty.
That spot-kick proved a key talking point as Josh Morris went to ground under the attentions of Dan Alfei.
Ref Iain Williamson pointed to the spot to the anger of Pompey players and fans.
N’Gala was adamant it was never a penalty but thinks lax defending from set-pieces, which led to Fleetwood’s other goals caused his team’s downfall.
He said: ‘It’s wasn’t a penalty.
‘It was very soft and disappointing.
‘We haven’t played particularly badly and did play some attacking stuff.
‘At 1-0 the penalty was demoralising when we would have been in the game.
‘But it’s 2-0 and a poor decision.
‘At the end of the day, though, sloppy errors cost us the game.
‘It’s not something to be proud of.
‘They got to the ball first for the first goal. It’s not the best viewing to be honest.
‘The goals should’ve been dealt with better.
‘It’s important to defend better than we have done.
‘We’re not happy with it.’
Despite the frustration of losing, and seeing Trevor Carson beaten for the first time in 411 minutes, N’Gala took heart from how his team rallied late on.
Jed Wallace added life to his team’s forward play after coming on in the second half and was rewarded with his fifth goal of the season.
That ended a run of 376 minutes without a goal, stretching back to Jake Jervis’ winner against Accrington.
N’Gala said: ‘It was a good finish from Jed and we pretty much attacked for the rest of the game.
‘We went for it. It just wasn’t to be.
‘They are a decent side and well organised.
‘They are up there but we showed we can mix it with teams at the top.’
Jack Whatmough’s performance in the middle of midfield was another cause for optimism.
The 17-year-old shone with his range of passing and composure impressing.
N’Gala felt the Gosport talent’s display belied his years.
He said: ‘I thought Jack did well.
‘He got on the ball and passed it.
‘You wouldn’t have thought you’d see a 17-year-old lad do that.
‘Jack did very well. I thought he showed his versatility by playing in the centre of midfield.
‘He’s a very good player and one to watch.
‘He’s got a bright future ahead of him.
‘He’s come in and done well.’
Despite the frustration of the loss, N’Gala views the weekend defeat as a blip rather than anything more significant.
He said: ‘It’s not a step back, we just have to get back to what we were doing. We weren’t going to go the rest of the season without conceding.
‘So we just have to put that behind us and go again.’