Hermann Hreidarsson has revealed the approach which helped Pompey overcome the stifling pressure to win the FA Cup.
The Blues great has told how Harry Redknapp’s side chose to rely on their outstanding defensive abilities to deliver the greatest moment of his career.
On the eve of the 10th anniversary of lifting the famous, old trophy, Hreidarsson outlined how sticking to their strength at the back paid off in emphatic style when the heat was on.
He said: ‘This was the highlight for me. By a mile.
‘The tension was definitely there before the final. It became such a massive opportunity.
‘After we beat Manchester United, on paper we were the strongest side and it became ours to lose.
‘When Chelsea were knocked out it meant Portsmouth were going to play West Brom, Cardiff or Barnsley.
‘What got us into the final was we kept clean sheets for fun that season.
‘We knew we had to build on that on the day and we couldn’t take any chances.
‘We knew if we did that we’d have a good chance, because we’d probably score.
‘Maybe we could’ve passed it around a bit better, taken chances or played more football. But we went into it cautiously for a reason. It was about landing the trophy.’
Five of Pompey’s six wins on the road to Cup victory came by a 1-0 margin, including a glorious victory at Manchester United in the quarter-finals.
That denied a side Hreidarsson felt was the best produced under Alex Ferguson the treble, as they went on to win the league and Champions League.
Hreidarsson added: ‘We were the strongest side against Plymouth and Ipswich.
‘Then at Preston we scored late – and I’m still claiming that goal!
‘I know some would say it’s far-fetched but sod it I’m saying it’s mine!
‘Then came Manchester United. David James had a stormer on that day – and throughout the run.
‘Distin had that miraculous save on the line, too.
‘When we played at Old Trafford we were playing a team who, in my opinion, was the strongest Manchester United team in Fergie’s era.
‘That was some team, that’s for sure. They won the Champions League and Premier League that season.
‘We had to ride our luck at times but we were playing the best team in the world.
‘But we’d take riding our luck a bit and winning 1-0 like that every day of the week.’