Pompey new boy Danny Rose insisted champions Northampton had it easier last season.
Heading into today’s League Two clash at Exeter (3pm), the man signed from the Cobblers in the summer has enjoyed an eye-opening start to life on the south coast.
A first Blues win of the campaign arrived at the fourth time of asking in last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Colchester at Fratton Park.
But for Rose, who was part of a Northampton side who won 10 straight games en route to the title, the way opposing teams have set up to face Paul Cook’s troops is different to anything he experienced last term.
‘It is a lot different to Northampton,’ he said.
‘Teams weren’t as defensive when I was there, which probably played into our hands.
‘We set up 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 and teams still thought they could get after us or maybe nick something away from home.
‘When we had spells we got the goals and sometimes it just happens for you.
‘Once we were in the lead, teams almost gave up at times and we would then enjoy possession.
‘But early on in games the style of play Northampton had meant we wouldn’t dominate the ball as we do at Pompey, simply because we would be a little bit more direct.
‘Having all that possession is enjoyable but at the same time it can be frustrating because you can end up getting impatient against these teams.
‘It is key that you stay patient and keep doing good habits, which the manager keeps on to us about.
‘For the first few games it didn’t happen for us for one reason or another.
‘But we got the win last Saturday and hopefully that can give us the confidence to take our chances when we get them in the coming weeks.’
Being patient is a message Rose is only too happy to enforce – and with good reason.
Having started the season with Oxford, before switching to the Cobblers midway through the campaign, the midfielder was able to point to slow starts for both sides on their way to promotion.
He said: ‘If we hadn’t won last Saturday or ended up drawing, people on the outside may have said “Pompey haven’t started great”.
‘But within the camp there would have been no need to panic at all.
‘I started last season at Oxford and, like here, after four games we only had one win.
‘Northampton won only two of their first six also, so they didn’t start well either.
‘But throughout the winter months we won 10 in a row in December, January and February, battling and grinding out 1-0 wins.
‘And here we have to make sure we have the qualities to pick up those scrappy wins because they’re just as important as a 5-0 win at home when we are playing nice football.
‘I am confident we have the players to create a little bit of history and help get Pompey back to where they belong.’