Dave Jones admitted Pompey have the cutting edge his side are lacking.
And the Hartlepool boss felt his men created their own downfall in their 2-0 loss to the Blues.
Pools created problems for Paul Cook’s men to contend with, particularly in a first half in which the visitors were put under pressure.
But Kal Naismith’s clinical finish proved key before Gary Roberts put the game to bed 15 minutes after the restart.
And Jones acknowledged Pompey’s potency proved the difference between the sides.
He told hartlepool.co.uk: ‘It was two good sides out there but they had that cutting edge that we don’t have at the moment, but it’s something we’re trying to get.
‘We started well but caused our own downfall by doing stupid things that we’ve been trying to eradicate.
‘For spells of the game, I thought we matched them and, with perhaps a bit more belief, and bit more quality around the place, then we could have got something.’
Jones felt there were chances for his side, particularly when Nathan Thomas hit the post early in the second half.
He said: ‘We could have gone 1-0 up if we picked the right pass and the right weight, then we could get back to 1-1 when we hit the post so we’ve had our opportunities.’
Defeat to Pompey put a dent in strong home form for Pools, who had previously won three and drawn two of their past six fixtures at Victoria Park.
The loss means Jones’ side are five points from the bottom two – and still involved in a relegation dogfight.
He added: ‘The players are working hard but sometimes when things don’t go your way or you’re not having the best of games, the old traits fall in and we’re trying to stop that.
‘Maybe one or two of the players have got carried away with performances in the past so want to do something different – that’s all the things we’re trying to change but it takes time.’