Craig Hignett lauded Hartlepool’s ‘outstanding’ defensive display as they shut out Pompey to earn a share of the Fratton Park spoils on Saturday.
It was a point and clean sheet made all the more impressive by virtue of the fact the visitors arrived on the south coast having conceded nine goals in their past two games.
Former Blues keeper Trevor Carson was at the centre of it for the Pools, making a number of superb stops to deny Michael Smith, Michael Doyle and substitute Conor Chaplin among others.
And for Hignett, it was the perfect response to the humiliating 5-0 home defeat to Cambridge his side had suffered on their previous outing.
Speaking to hartlepoolunited.co.uk he said: ‘Saturday was about desire, bottle, heart and passion – and I think we saw that in bucket loads.
‘We had to defend because they’re a really, really good side who pegged us back and we had to get on the end of crosses – and when Trev had been called upon he’s made some great saves.
‘We battled, we dug in, we showed determination and we managed the game well, so as disappointed as I have been in recent weeks, I am massively proud of that performance.
‘The clean sheet was huge after last week; we came here not sure what we were going to get after the last two games but what we got was an outstanding defensive display.
‘Some of the defending was unbelievable and nobody switched off for a second – every one of them put a shift in from Billy (Paynter) up top right through to the lads at the back.’
And Hignett has now called on his side to use Saturday’s performance as a benchmark to build on for the rest of the season.
He added: ‘The character shone through and they frustrated Portsmouth and their fans.
‘That’s the benchmark for us now and we have to build on it.’