MICHAEL DOYLE believes his dressing-room bust-up with Christian Burgess has brought Pompey closer together.
The Blues skipper has spoken for the first time about the half-time clash with the defender against Stevenage last November.
Doyle admitted his regret at the fight which led to the pair being withdrawn as Paul Cook’s side fell to a 2-1 loss.
The 35-year-old accepted the incident led to his team’s downfall that day – and being at fault for that was tough to take.
The Irishman underlined he believes it’s necessary to stand up and be accountable for his actions instead of shy away from them.
Doyle is in no doubt both he and Burgess, as well as the rest of his team-mates, have formed a closer bond in the aftermath of the flashpoint.
That can be seen in the impetus the captain feels has been building since as his side go to Crawley tomorrow.
‘In these situations you can be a bit of a coward and not front up,’ said Doyle.
‘For me, it was important to stand up, but I’m not going to hide away from making a mistake.
‘You have to man up and put yourself out there.
‘People are quick enough to take praise as players. You’ve got to be big enough to take criticism as well.
‘There’s no right or wrong way in football, but sometimes things can spill over.
‘On that day it did and that was unfortunate.
‘I’ve always got on well with Christian. I sit beside him in the dressing room on a matchday. That’s the unfortunate thing. If I wasn’t sat beside him it probably wouldn’t have led to the situation.
‘I’m not putting a front on – it’s probably brought us closer together. That’s as a pair and as a team.
‘It’s obviously hit me in the pocket, though!
‘It’s weird because things like that can make you or break you.
‘You can see by the results since that it’s brought us closer, in my opinion.’
There’s been plenty of speculation over what unfolded when Doyle clashed with Burgess.
The midfielder explained the bust-up unfolded quickly and was soon settled.
But he was still disappointed by the consequences of his actions.
He added: ‘It was over in two minutes, well, not even two minutes. We shook hands right away and that was it.
‘Probably the hardest thing about it was putting your manager and team-mates in that position.
‘That was the hardest thing for me, putting people in difficult positions.
‘You can’t shy away when things happen. You have to front up and man up to them.
‘If we don’t go off in that game I don’t think we lose.
‘You have to be man enough to own up to your mistakes.
‘I was involved in it and it cost the lads that day. We’d be one defeat in 12 games if it that didn’t happen.
‘It’s done now, though.’