Paul Hardyman has launched a blistering attack on Pompey’s reserves – and conceded their title hopes are all but over.
The Blues were cruising at 2-0 in Tuesday’s trip to Final Third Development League leaders Luton.
You would like to think after being 2-0 up we can at least get a result – but we crumbled like a pack of cards and it isn’t good enoughPaul Hardyman
But a capitulation saw them lose 5-2 as the experienced hosts ran riot in the final half-an-hour.
Pompey are now 10 points adrift of the Hatters and the gap looks too much to make up, even with two matches in hand.
And Hardyman laid into his side having wasted a golden opportunity to close the gap.
He said: ‘I would love to win the league but it is going to be difficult now so it is about getting more experience for the lads and to go and win matches.
‘Now it is a case of you still have the cup to play for but the football club wants to finish as high as it can in any league it plays in.
‘We have got a couple of injuries in the first team so younger lads have been promoted up from the youth team into the reserves which is great, that is what it is about, that is why it is a development league.
‘We just have to keep working at it.
‘Against Luton we went 4-4-1-1 because we didn’t have the resources we had last week.
‘So it has put more emphasis on the two centre-halves to defend properly and the players in front of them.
‘You would like to think after being 2-0 up we can at least get a result – but we crumbled like a pack of cards and it isn’t good enough.’
Pompey’s side included Nicky Shorey, Johnny Ertl, Craig Westcarr, Adam Webster, Paul McCallum and Conor Chaplin.
And a fuming Hardyman laid into them.
He said: ‘You go out and concede five goals in a half, which is a goal every nine minutes.
‘They shouldn’t have five shots in the second half let alone five goals.
‘The first half was brilliant. We were in total control but haven’t had that energy in the second half where people are going to close them down.
‘That is what we are after, people closing down and that is not anything tactical or anything technical, that is about attitude.
‘For me you have got to work your socks off in any game, it doesn’t matter if it is a reserve or first-team game.
‘There are contracts to be discussed, when you are performing like that there are easy decisions to make at times.’