Kenny Jackett has delivered his verdict on the key factors behind Pompey’s slump in form.
And the Blues boss has forwarded his views on what’s needed to spark his side’s season back to life.
Jackett’s side bid to arrest a run of seven league games without a win against their promotion rivals tomorrow.
In an honest appraisal, the manager pinpointed the dwindling penetration of his side as significant issue in a downturn in results.
Specifically, the attacking trio behind the lone striker in his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation have struggled to maintain the flying from produced for much of the campaign.
Jackett is looking for his team to once again find a way of cutting through opponents as they did when they led the way in League One.
He said: ‘I think in terms 4-2-3-1 the three behind have been so creative for us, really.
‘A big emphasis has been on the wide men and number 10.
‘If you look at the goals created and scored by them it’s been high. That’s been a feature of the system.
‘Generally, there’s a process. You win the ball back and get the ball around the half-way line with a few passes first around the centre-halves and holding midfielders.
‘Then you’re looking for some penetration, whether that be the wide men and the full-backs driving forward.
‘It could be Matt Clarke bringing the ball forward or the three players behind the strikers then stepping in.
‘That process hasn’t quite happened and been as free-flowing as it was earlier in the season, when we could get behind people and get into one v one situations.
‘We could get past them and stay past them.
‘That process has been a difficult one.’
In a search for a remedy to his side’s current plight, Jackett appears to be reverting to type in terms of personnel and formation.
But he noted he now has the options to freshen up his side, while he doesn’t feel his players aren’t wanting for character.
He added: ‘It may be the case that having fresh legs is something.
‘But if I’m looking at the starting line-up, it was a tried-and-tested one on Tuesday night.
‘It was quite frustrating in the first 35 minutes which resulted with the penalty and going 1-0 down.
‘It was difficult for us to create all the way through the game. We didn’t have that many clear-cut chances or shots.
‘We did have a lot of the ball up and around the half-way line, but we could get it into areas where there was one v one situations.
‘We couldn’t carve out the openings or the final chance around the box to get clear-cut openings.
‘It was that build-up, build-up, break down. That was a feature of us.
‘We did keep going though, and showed a desire not to get beat. In the end you do need that character as well.’