Michael Appleton lauded the best display of his era as Pompey boss and admitted: We owed them one.
Appleton paid tribute to the quality of his team’s display as they started 2012 in style with a 2-0 success over Watford.
The Blues manager had his side’s opening clash of the new year down as a red letter day following the defeat to the Hornets in his first game in charge.
Pompey fell to a weak 2-0 loss at Vicarage Road in November on an afternoon to forget.
Appleton hasn’t forgot that fact, though, and demanded his players put right that wrong.
They did that in comprehensive style yesterday in a game they thoroughly deserved to win.
Appleton said: ‘I said to the players before the game I took the defeat at their place very personally.
‘It knocked me a little bit when that happened and I looked for the next time we played them.
‘I took it badly and I reminded the players of that before the game.
‘I wanted to win this game badly and I think the players showed that same spirit and attitude.
‘We dominated the game from minute one.
‘Stephen Henderson had a couple of saves down his throat but we had numerous opportunities.
‘We scored two, had one disallowed which should have stood and could have had a lot more.
‘I was getting a little irate about being too comfortable at the end.
‘I didn’t want them to get too comfortable. I got the message across that I wanted the clean sheet.
‘It is possibly is the best performance (since Appleton arrived).
‘I really enjoyed the Burnley performance and how controlled it was but it definitely is the best at home.
‘It feels fantastic. We have to make sure we stay in control of ourselves now, though.
‘The spirt is good but we have to keep those emotions in really.
‘It’s that old cliche of taking it a game as it comes.
‘I don’t know where we can go but after another 10 games I’ll have an answer.’
Marko Futacs was again the goal hero for Pompey as he got the decisive opening effort.
The Hungarian nodded in a header eight minutes after the restart to make it two goals from two starts.
Appleton underlined his belief the Hungarian international has potential to cause big problems for Championship defences.
The Pompey boss reckons Futacs, who also hit the bar late on, is showing finishing prowess to match the other obvious attributes of his 6ft 5in frame.
Appleton said: ‘I could have let Marko go out on loan in November.
‘I’ve said it for weeks – there’s something there with Marko.
‘I think people have missed a trick with him.
‘He’s a talent and a big lad who needs to channel it.
‘We’ve worked hard with him in training and there were cameos off the bench for him.
‘But he has shown again he is a finisher as well.
‘He has scored and hit the bar and is difficult to deal with.’