Mark Yates believes his side were beaten by the best footballing side in League Two.
Crawley were soundly defeated 3-0 by a Pompey team in dominant form at Fratton Park on Saturday.
Their manager, Yates, acknowledged that was the case and was impressed with what he saw from the Blues.
He admitted he hasn’t seen a side in the league to match Paul Cook’s men for their ability on the ball.
Yates said: ‘They showed what a good side they are.
‘We allowed them to do that a little at times, but it’s not a time for me to criticise my players.
‘We gifted them a goal from a set-piece, and it was poor play on our part building up to it.
‘But it was great play from them and they are the best footballing side in this division by some way, for me.
‘When they get their tails in front after 10 minutes or so, you make it hard for yourselves.’
Yates took solace from an improved effort from his team after the break after they had fallen two goals behind.
Crawley did carve out more chances and threatened in spells, but Yates was under no illusions they were still second best.
He said ‘We showed a lot of character in the second half and a lot of fight.
‘Although we were dominated in the first half it evened out in the second half more.
‘Their play was more controlled than ours. I’m not kidding myself.
‘We created three or four chances and hit the bar.
‘You never know, we could have been talking about nicking something.
‘It could have put them under a little pressure.
‘But we didn’t quite have enough to do that.
‘I’ll never question my players commitment.
‘We are far from a top-quality outfit but the commitment was there for everyone to see.
‘We had a go in the second half.’