Guy Whittingham lauded captain Johnny Ertl as he led by example at Crewe.
Ertl turned in a man-of-the-match performance at the Alexandra Stadium as Pompey ended their 23-game winless run with a 2-1 success.
The Blues skipper bossed the middle of the park with his industry, constantly dispossessing opponents with his dogged efforts.
On top of that, the Austrian’s driving first-half run contributed to David Connolly’s goal.
And a similar effort nearly saw the 30-year-old bag a goal of his own in the second half.
Caretaker boss Whittingham praised Ertl’s attitude as he set the tone for Pompey’s display.
‘For someone who has played so many games he was brilliant,’ said Whittingham.
‘That was why he was made captain.
‘He keeps everyone going and is a great character to have in the changing room.
‘He’s a great character to have around.
‘He’s honest and hard working. That’s Johnny for you.
‘He’ll put himself on the line and keep everyone going.
‘We’re really pleased for him.’
The win for Pompey marked the final game of James Keene’s stay at the club he came through the ranks at.
The striker returns to Swedish parent club Elfsborg this week after he loan stint came to the close.
Whittingham, however, explained he will be keeping a close eye on the player with a view to bringing him back to Fratton Park.
And he revealed he’s likely to add an Academy or development squad player to the first-team picture in his place.
Whittingham said: ‘James is going to back and we will wait to see what happens now with him.
‘It’s an opportunity to look at some youngsters now.
‘We’ll think long and hard before Bury about filling that place now.
‘It’s a bit disappointing that James has to go, though.
‘We have to see where he is in the summer now.
‘I think it may just be a case of giving a youngster a chance now.
‘That’s where we need to be in the future.
‘James has epitomised what we need here, though.
‘I’m glad he got his goal in front of the Fratton end when he was here.
‘That’s something to remember.’
– JORDAN CROSS