Paul Tisdale praised Exeter’s organisation, discipline and attention to detail as the in-form Grecians repeated their Fratton Park victory act.
The visitors were 2-1 winners on the south coast last season and again claimed all of the spoils on Saturday, courtesy of David Wheeler’s decisive second-half strike.
Tisdale’s men have now won their last five League Two games, continuing an impressive 10-game unbeaten run to break into the play-off places.
And Exeter’s manager believes his side’s latest three-point haul was a result of the perfect game plan.
Speaking to Exeter Express & Echo, he said: ‘First and foremost, it was three points for us and it keeps our momentum and form.
‘That was foremost in our mind and we did that.
‘We were solid, built on teamwork and no one tried to do their own thing – everyone was playing to a plan, with nothing clever, but everyone in the right place at the right time, playing for each other.
‘We were tough and hard to beat and, again, it’s a clean sheet.’
The game’s decisive moment arrived 12 minutes into the second half, with the Grecians benefitting from a huge slice of luck.
Visiting striker Reuben Reid saw his path to goal blocked but Pompey skipper Michael Doyle could only send his clearance into team-mate Danny Rose, with the ball ricocheting kindly into the path of Wheeler – who fired home emphatically from close range.
Tisdale said: ‘The goal was a brilliant finish.
‘It came about with some pinball stuff – it bounced around and just fell to him.
‘It’s not our most beautifully-worked goal or the most silky bit of football but David Wheeler took it wonderfully well.
‘And, sometimes, that’s the best way to break your opponent down because, when the play comes erratic, the ball just bounces around.
‘Reuben just overran it and it was a brilliant finish – a really, really good finish.’