Liam Lawrence told his Pompey team-mates: We can’t hide behind excuses.
The Pompey skipper was left to count the cost of some slack defending and a disappointing second-half showing from the Blues as they eventually fell to a 1-0 defeat at high-flying Birmingham.
But despite the players being unpaid and the lack of numbers starting to take its toll, Lawrence was not prepared to deflect the blame.
He said: ‘I never make the excuse “we’ve only got 12, 13 or 14 players or we’re not getting paid”.
‘That’s rubbish. At the end of the day, we’ve got some good players and we should be doing better.
‘Those things don’t help but it’s down to us as professionals to get on with things and see it through.
‘We were in the game for 85 minutes and then conceded a goal that we should have cleared, so we’re very disappointed.
‘I think we’ve got a good enough team to be higher than we are and to be picking up more away points than we are.’
While Pompey were bright in the first half and looked defensively sound, their attacking threat disappeared after the break and the home side began to dominate as the game wore on.
Lawrence said: ‘For the first half, I thought we should have gone ahead. I thought we were the better side.
‘In the second half, we didn’t do so well and I thought we were going to grind it out but we got punished.
‘We didn’t look dangerous at all in the second half.
‘The gaffer told us that and we’ve got no arguments.
‘They were better than us in the second half. They ground us down and eventually they got their reward.
‘But their goal was sloppy from us. We should have made better defensive work of it.’
While Pompey seem to be at a low ebb with all of the uncertainty going on behind the scenes, the former Stoke midfielder is hopeful that Saturday’s trip to Blackpool can bring some positive news.
He said: ‘We’ve just got to pick ourselves up again.
‘We’ve got another massive game on Saturday against a good side.
‘We’ve got to go there and make sure we put on a better performance than we did in the second half last night.’