Stephen Henderson called on his team-mates to show more fighting spirit as Pompey’s slow starts continue to dent his promotion dream.
A Michael Kightly goal inside two minutes helped condemn the Blues to their sixth away defeat of the season at Watford on Saturday.
That early Hornets strike echoed Pompey’s lacklustre starts at Leeds, Hull and Derby County, where they also went on to lose and drop further out of the reckoning for a play-off place.
But it’s not just on their travels where sloppy starts have proved harmful.
Early goals from Brighton and Peterborough at Fratton Park this season have also helped inflict home defeats on a Blues side who are all too familiar with playing catch-up.
Next up for Pompey is the visit of big-spending Leicester to the south coast on Saturday.
The game will represent new boss Michael Appleton’s debut appearance in front of the Fratton faithful.
And with the former West Brom assistant head coach determined to open his home account with a win, Henderson is demanding the Blues get off to the perfect start against the Foxes.
‘I really can’t put my finger on why we make these slow starts but I think we just need to show a bit more spirit – all 11 of us,’ said Henderson.
‘I’m sure the new manager will get that into us because you can see he is that sort of character already.
‘It’s too often that we lose games because of this.
‘I said when I first came here that promotion was the main aim.
‘To lose games as we have is not acceptable.
‘I just hope it turns around soon.’