Andy Awford assessed Pompey’s thrilling 4-4 draw at Bury and insisted: I never stopped believing.
Trailing 4-2 with three minutes to play at Gigg Lane, he was staring down the barrel of a first defeat in his second spell as caretaker boss.
Five successive victories in less than a month had lifted the Fratton Park club away from relegation danger and seen Awford emerge as the leading candidate for the full-time post.
And against all odds, the resurgent Blues summoned the spirit that has accompanied Awford’s tenure to strike twice late on and seal an unexpected point.
An own goal from Bury’s Pablo Mills reduced the arrears in the 88th minute before Wes Fogden fired home in the third minute of injury-time to complete the comeback after Danny Hollands and Ryan Taylor had earlier struck for the visitors.
Awford said: ‘At 3-0 down, did I think we could still get something from the game?
‘Yes, because the character and the spirit in the changing room is fantastic.
‘They’ve (the players) answered some questions and thankfully turned things around in the second half.’
Awford admitted his side would need to cut out the defensive fragility on display if they are to continue their proud unbeaten run.
But the Blues caretaker boss paid tribute to the character shown in the dramatic fightback.
Awford said: ‘You aren’t going to win many football matches if you concede four goals – that goes without saying. But you saw a spirit and a will to keep going.
‘I asked the players at half-time for character – and they gave it again.
‘At 3-0 down that could’ve gone four, five or 6-0 to Bury, and credit to our lot, it didn’t.’