Karl Robinson dismissed Kenny Jackett’s suggestion Charlton Athletic have a squad full of depth.
The Blues boss saluted his players’ character after they delivered a hard-earned victory at The Valley and insisted the Addicks have the competition to be a force in League One.
Jackett’s troops defeated Charlton in the Checkatrade Trophy last month, kicking off a run of six wins from seven matches.
Robinson made nine changes from the game against Pompey last month for Saturday’s League One encounter.
However, he took exception to Jackett’s comments and insisted he simply put faith in his youngsters for the cup fixture.
The Addicks boss told newsshopper.co.uk: ‘I don’t really know how he (Jackett) can say that.
‘Maybe we get punished for bringing through our own players because Portsmouth played their first team in that competition.
‘It’s not strength in depth, it’s bravery in the youth – there’s a difference.
‘Maybe that squad will see us get up the league then. It’s interesting. We’re brave in playing our young players, not many managers do that.
‘We could only change that many on Saturday because we played our young players before. We could have gone to Swansea and played our first-team squad but we don’t have the strength in depth at the moment.
‘We felt like giving our young players a chance – from Aaron Barnes to Dillon Phillips, to Regan Charles-Cook, Jamie Mascoll, Harry Lennon, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild.
‘I don’t know how many home-grown players they had in their squad.
‘It’s part of our mantra that we play our young players and that’s why our squad looks strong.’