Mark Kelly saluted his Pompey Academy troops after they were cruelly knocked out of the FA Youth Cup.
The young Blues suffered a 2-1 extra-time defeat to Leicester City in the third round of the competition at Fratton Park.
Dan Smith opened the scoring for Pompey from the penalty spot on 32 minutes before Kairo Edwards-John equalised 71 seconds into the second half.
And the Foxes forward netted the winner in the 99th minute to break the hosts’ hearts.
Kelly praised his fledgling stars for their bravery against the Premier League club.
But the Academy chief admitted the Blues needed to be more clinical in front of goal after squandering several decent opportunities.
Kelly said: ‘We played with bravery and confidence and the lads grew as the game went on.
‘The boys’ attitude was brilliant. It was absolutely spot on.
‘Everyone would have seen their effort. It will be a big learning curve for them.
‘They thought they had a lot of control, were on the front foot and they did that really well.
‘However, it’s all down to being ruthless in the final third.
‘The killer instinct in front of goal makes a massive difference.
‘Their winning goal was a good finish but we got into that sort of position four or five times.
‘What was disappointing was the way we started the second half.
‘We said in the changing room they were going to react to what’s gone on and obviously they did.
‘However, I then thought we settled down and played the much better football.’
Click here to read the full match report of last night’s FA Youth Cup tie.