Danny Hollands told Pompey there was ‘no shame’ in their cup exit at Stoke.
And the midfielder believes going up against powerful Premier League opposition will be an education for his young team-mates.
Andy Awford’s side went down to a 3-0 loss in the Capital One Cup at the Britannia Stadium last night.
Awford opted to use a number of young players against the Potters.
Hollands felt they did themselves justice, despite the defeat.
He said: ‘It is a different style of football against Premier League players.
‘At times we were maybe a bit too direct and should have been a bit more patient with our passes.
‘We needed to keep the ball a bit more because we maybe had a bit more time than we thought.
‘But we gave a good account of ourselves, especially the younger players.
‘They did well against a team who will be fighting to get into Europe in the best league in the world.
‘It’s disappointing to lose but no shame.
‘It’s a good education for everyone. I thought we did ourselves justice in the end.’
Pompey had to fight for their openings against a Stoke side which possessed vast top-flight experience.
Hollands feels the game was a useful benchmark for the Blues’ young guns.
He said: ‘Maybe we should have been more confident in the final third but look at the players we were up against.
‘Shawcross and Huth are man mountains. I wouldn’t like to be running against them but it shows younger players where they have to be if they want to kick on and be at this standard.’