Alan McLoughlin issued an apology to anyone who was within earshot of his half-time team talk after Pompey’s youngsters were dealt a harsh lesson by Gosport Borough.
The Blues first-team coach launched into his players in the visitors dressing room at Privett Park for their meek display against a Gosport side who dominated the game and thoroughly deserved their 4-1 win.
The final margin should have been even more.
And McLoughlin believes the club’s development squad players have been given a stark dose of reality.
He said: ‘I did lose the plot at half-time and if anyone in the stand above the changing room heard me through any holes, I do apologise for the language.
‘I was unhappy with virtually every aspect. We know what they can do collectively and individually and they are a lot better than that.
‘It was time for them to see a different side of me.
‘They have seen me in a different light, rather than the nice guy coach.
‘Don’t worry, they will be seeing more of that and so will the first team if things are not done as we want them.
‘The boys have had a reality check on where they are and where they think they are.
‘We expect a little bit more in terms of quality, bravery and decision-making.’
Borough took the lead in the 19th minute as Mike Gosney capitalised on some slack Jack Whatmough defending to lash home an angled drive past Blues goalkeeper Billy Granger.
And Borough made it 2-0 just past the half-hour mark when former Blues midfielder Sammy Igoe’s free-kick drifted into the far corner with Sam Pearce claiming the merest of flicks on its way into the net.
With Nick Awford the only Pompey player to stand out with a gutsy display in midfield, the Blues had barely created a single opportunity in the first half but were sent out early for the second period with McLoughlin’s rant still ringing in their ears.
They looked a different side early in the half as Jack Maloney won a penalty after a rash Lee Molyneaux challenge to earn a spot-kick, which was despatched by Ashley Harris.
But Borough themselves then responded when Pearce smashed home a long-range free-kick, which Granger should have done better with, to restore the two-goal advantage.
And it got even better for Borough when substitute Jack Barton launched a 35-yarder that looped over a helpless Granger to make it 4-1 midway through the second half.
Fellow sub Justin Bennett missed an absolute sitter, when it should have been 5-1, somehow heading over from inside the six-yard box with the goal at his mercy.
But it did not take the gloss off an excellent display from the home side who, on this evidence, look well-equipped for their forthcoming Conference South campaign.
Borough boss Alex Pike said: ‘I was well pleased. Two years ago, that side would have beaten us but it shows how far we’ve come.
‘It was a good workout and I would like to thank Pompey for bringing a side over to play us.
‘I’m happy with where we are and I’m seeing us improve with every game.’
GOSPORT: Nathan Ashmore (Gareth Barfoot, h-t), Paul Hinshelwood (Luke King 63mins), Lee Molyneaux ( Rob Flooks 57mins), Sam Pearce (Ellis Martin 63mins), Brett Poate, Sammy Igoe (Dan Woodward 57mins), Tom Dunford (Jack Barton 67mins), Danny Smith (Bradey Norton 79mins), Mike Gosney (Adam Wilde 63mins), Andy Forbes (Justin Bennett 57mins), Rory Williams (Dan Wooden 57mins).
POMPEY: Billy Granger, Jack Whatmough, Josh Warren, Adam Webster (Brandon Haunstrup 61 mins), Liam Triggs, Ben Close (James Granger, 73), George Branford, Nick Awford, Jack Maloney, Ryan Bird (Fahad Rwakarmbe 61mins) Ashley Harris (Kim Jae-Heon 61mins).