Andy Awford rounded on his stuttering Pompey players after their Gigg Lane performance and blasted: That was not good enough.
Defeat at Bury on Saturday means the Blues have now won just one of their past nine league matches.
And they can have no complaints about the 3-0 scoreline in the north west, after David Flitcroft’s promotion-chasing side comfortably dominated proceedings.
Goals from Danny Mayor, Ryan Lowe and Danny Rose condemned the Blues to 14th spot in League Two as they continue to slide down the table.
The opportunity to make amends occurs quickly, with the visit of Stevenage to Fratton Park tomorrow night.
Yet Bury represented another low during a run of form which is increasingly concerning supporters.
Awford said: ‘The whole performance was disappointing, there is no dressing it up.
‘If you lose 3-0, of course it’s not good. But we get an opportunity very quickly to try to put that right against Stevenage – that is the only positive you can take.
‘We owe the 552 fans who travelled on Saturday a performance without a shadow of a doubt.
‘I have no problem with their (the players’) attitude. They tried but we weren’t good enough, it’s as simple as that.
‘Bury were better than us on Saturday and you have to hold your hands up sometimes. They were 3-0 better than us and I have no qualms about that whatsoever.
‘I don’t dress things up. They deserved their victory, we didn’t deserve anything and it’s not good enough. We have got to do a lot better than that – and we will.
‘In terms of an overall performance, that was worse than Southend but – unlike that match – I think the players tried on Saturday.
‘Against Southend it was the first time I was critical of them. When they went behind they lost belief, they lost their way.
‘Against Bury, they kept trying to do the right thing but weren’t good enough, it didn’t come off what we were trying to do.
‘As a team we didn’t perform and we have to do better.
‘When you are not winning games your confidence suffers, that is the same with every team, with every football club, and we haven’t won enough football matches this year.’
At half-time Awford scrapped the 3-5-2 formation which has come under growing scrutiny from supporters. And he believed it was the correct decision.
‘At half-time I didn’t read the riot act, I was constructive, changed the system and changed a couple of personnel to try to help,’ said Awford.
‘When Nigel (Atangana) and Alex (Wynter) came off it could have been a couple of others who came off, it’s just what we decided to do.
‘I wanted to go four at the back and play a diamond because obviously 3-5-2 wasn’t working.
‘It was slightly better in the second half but they deserved to win.’