MATT CLARKE has demanded Pompey tighten up at the back.
And the Blues defender dismissed the unsettled nature of his team’s back four as an excuse for goals being shipped.
Kenny Jackett’s men have shipped two goals or more on nine occasions this term.
The success at Blackpool this month was the only time Pompey have come out on top when doing so.
Clarke knows it’s a key area to focus on for improvement.
He said: ‘The disappointing stat is how many times one has become two. If you keep a clean sheet or concede one goal, that’s when you can start looking up.
‘That’ll be when we can start saying we need to score more or dominate.
‘A lot of times this season one has become two and we’ve given ourselves a mountain to climb. That needs to improve.
‘We’re not going to say we need a clean sheet every game. But conceding two goals is not really good enough or the standard we want to set.
‘We want to say no goals or one goal at most.
‘Last season’s defence was quite settled and that’s good.
‘The fact it hasn’t been settled this season isn’t an excuse, though.
‘It’s something we all have to work on. Whoever’s there we have to make sure we don’t concede goals.’
There will be another change to the Blues’ defence when they take on Plymouth today with Christian Burgess suspended.
That could see Clarke return to the middle after being used at left-back.
He added: ‘Christian is a key player. We don’t want to be without him. We have to take it for what it is, and, with or without him, get the job done.
‘If I’m back there I’ll look to do the best job I can.’