Steve Claridge has called on Pompey to swiftly put Saturday’s dressing room fracas behind them.
And the former Blues manager is adamant players should not be criticised for displaying passion – providing a line isn’t crossed.
You have to move on, it’s done and dusted now. As long as there is nothing left over between those two and they haven’t split the dressing room, no problemSteve Claridge
Christian Burgess and Michael Doyle are waiting to learn their Pompey punishment after clashing at half-time in Saturday’s match with Stevenage.
Both were substituted by Paul Cook, although the Blues went on to lose 2-1.
They have since apologised to their team-mates and left Fratton Park together on Saturday evening.
Claridge has condemned behaviour which left Burgess with a cut eye.
But he has applauded their will to win and believes Pompey must now put the episode behind them.
‘There are plenty of people I’ve played with who I didn’t like, but I would have had them in my team all day long,’ said Claridge.
‘The message is shake hands, get on with it and learn the lesson to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
‘You have to move on, it’s done and dusted now. As long as there is nothing left over between those two and they haven’t split the dressing room, no problem.
‘We want people to care about what they are doing, although you also get to a point where that sort of behaviour is socially unacceptable.
‘People get very emotional, if you are passionate about something then things happen in the heat of the moment.
‘Everybody talks about players who don’t care, and when all of a sudden someone cares, albeit maybe not in the right way, then it is wrong.
‘Either way you cannot win – that is the way I look at it.
‘Okay, that is not the right way to go about it, but at least they care about what they are doing.
‘There are plenty of managers at plenty of football clubs who would go “actually, not to that extent”. ‘But I wouldn’t mind someone apart from me standing up and saying “you didn’t do your jobs today”.
‘What happened on Saturday is taking it too far, but everybody in football is fed up with people saying we don’t care.’
Claridge himself has seen fights between players both in dressing rooms and on the training ground. And he insists it is a fact of footballing life.
He added: ‘It’s not the first time it ever happened and won’t be the last.
‘I have seen players punch before. Not a John Wayne slug-fest but someone has the red mist and it gets sorted out very quickly, with them pulled apart.
‘I haven’t known players substituted for fighting, but I have seen players taken off for being disrespectful to the manager.
‘This is not a normal club at this level, this is not 2,000 people who don’t know whether you are winning 3-0 or losing 3-0, this is pressure football.’