Perry Northeast admitted Brighton were too strong for Pompey Ladies as his team were knocked out of the title race on Sunday.
The Seagulls were in superb form as they recorded a 3-1 win at home and they are now on the brink of sealing the crown and a play-off place for the FA Women’s Super League.
Defending FA Premier League southern division champions Pompey were never going to give up without a fight.
They played with the spirit and determination always associated with the team who have been battling at the top of the league for three seasons now.
Northeast accepted that on this occasion Brighton have been that bit better and deserve any success that comes their way.
He said: ‘Brighton, as a team over the course of the season, have been better than us.
‘I had a good conversation after the game with their manager James Marrs.
‘They took note of how we were together last season.
‘Our players were zoned in to the task of winning a title and nothing else in life.
‘They have got that this season.
‘With the permission of their manager, I went into the opposition dressing room after the game to say well done to Brighton.
‘I felt their players deserved that, they are exactly how we were last season.
‘They have that eye of the tiger from player one to player 16.’
Northeast’s side were up against it from the early stages, conceding twice in the opening 20 minutes.
He said: ‘It didn’t help conceding so early.
‘If you are slight underdogs and you take an early blow it makes it more difficult.
‘Then conceding a second when you are not the favourites makes it an even bigger task.
‘Credit to our players, though.
‘They never gave up – they did give their all.’
The battling Blues hauled themselves back into the match when Clark scored a fantastic goal from 40 yards out.
But Brighton got the killer third strike just before half-time and Pompey were unable to bounce back from that.
Northeast added: ‘To concede the third goal in the 45th minute, just before half-time was a cruel blow.
‘We played better in the second half but they had a two-goal cushion and they are a good, organised team.’
Brighton will seal the title if they beat Spurs away on Sunday.
Pompey Ladies host Lewes as they look to put last weekend’s defeat behind them.