Gary Waddock praised the Pompey players after a ‘very difficult’ couple of days for the club.
The Blues parted company with manager Andy Awford by mutual consent yesterday, before facing Stevenage in League Two tonight.
The loss of their boss was followed by another loss on the road as Pompey went down to a 1-0 defeat at the Lamex Stadium.
But Waddock, who will remain in caretaker charge until the end of the season, admitted he couldn’t fault the players given the circumstances.
Rather, he gave the side credit for their showing against the play-off-chasers, especially after a much-improved second-half performance saw the Blues nearly cancel out Tom Pett’s early winner.
‘It’s been very difficult,’ admitted Waddock.
‘It’s more difficult for Awfs, though, as he is a fantastic bloke.
‘I’m disappointed he lost his job and as a group of people we had to pull together to get a performance this evening for the club.
‘Credit to the players, they did that.’
Waddock added he was sorry to see his friend Awford leave the club.
‘I was asked to take the caretaker role until the end of the season,’ said Waddock.
‘I came into the club to try to help Awfs.
‘He’s become a friend of mine, I didn’t know him beforehand.
‘I’m bitterly disappointed that he’s lost his job as he’s a very, very good guy.’