Jon Harley believes dwindling player confidence is hampering Pompey’s efforts to get out of their losing rut.
Meadow Lane was the backdrop to a third successive defeat for the Blues, plunging them into the League One relegation zone.
It was another deeply-disappointing performance from Michael Appleton’s men, who were comfortably defeated 3-0 by high-flying Notts County.
Having built up his squad from scratch, the Pompey manager has seen his players so far struggle to become a cohesive and effective unit.
It leaves them 21st in the table, and Harley admitted the run was having a impact on the players’ confidence.
He said: ‘As long as we can put in hard work and show the fans we are trying, then they are going to support us.
‘We are trying, it’s just that confidence is quite low at the moment and we need to lift that.
‘Coming off and talking to the Notts County players, they can’t believe the team we have got and where we are.
‘They are saying we have got really good players – and we have.
‘It just comes down to the fact we are not playing to our potential on the pitch and are nowhere near it at the moment.
‘On Saturday, there was a catalogue of errors and it is important we stop the rot quickly because, losing games as we are, it is becoming a habit and it’s a very bad habit.
‘It’s obvious players are going to be low on confidence – that comes from the bad run we are on – but we are grown men out there and we can’t afford to let our heads drop.
‘There were some massively-disappointed players in the dressing room on Saturday and it’s really frustrating for everybody.
‘It is even more frustrating because the fans are just amazing and we feel we want to give back to them what they are giving to us on the sidelines.
‘We want to lift the club and it’s a difficult time at the moment.’
The Blues entertain 18th-placed Scunthorpe on Saturday at Fratton Park.
The Iron are currently three points ahead of Pompey.