New Pompey boss Michael Appleton must have been horrified by his new team at Watford on Saturday.
‘Inept’, ‘clueless’ and ‘appalling’ were just three of the words used by my spies at Vicarage Road.
But if any good can come from such a display, it is perhaps that Appleton has a fair idea of what he is up against.
Pompey demonstrated their frailties away from home, where a paltry three points have been collected all season.
As discussed here previously, this travel sickness seems to be a part of the team’s DNA.
In particular, the role of summer signing David Norris should come under the microscope.
Norris is obviously a good pro who, to be fair, gets his share of goals from midfield.
But more worrying is that he seems to be forever on the fringes of the game, becoming almost invisible for long passages of play.
Pompey need a more influential player in that role, and that is an area that Appleton will need to address.
The new manager clearly needs time to make his mark.
But the Watford debacle was an inauspicious start.
Perhaps the team were trying, and failing, to implement one or two new ideas.
I was reassured by Appleton’s hard-hitting assessment of the performance, making no attempt to sugar coat it.
The response he gets will be revealing.
But the truth for now is that Pompey are a fairly ordinary team who can not be fancied in any away game – and therefore seem destined to inhabit the lower reaches of the table.
Over to you, Mr Appleton.