Joe Gallen admits he anticipated a more comfortable Pompey scoreline against League Two Crawley.
Nonetheless, he remains happy with the display of a strong Blues side as their defence of the EFL Trophy began with a 1-0 success.
It took substitute Brett Pitman to settle tonight’s Fratton Park encounter with a 70th-minute winner.
Crawley keeper Michael Luyambula also pulled off several good saves, albeit in a match of few goal-scoring opportunities.
Certainly Kenny Jackett’s men did not dispatch the visitors as easily as they would have expected, particularly considering the team they named.
Still, it was a victory and a clean sheet on home turf ahead of a blank weekend in their fixture schedule.
And the Checkatrade Trophy holders have begun their quest to retain the competition now rebranded as the Leasing.com Trophy.
Assistant boss Gallen said: ‘I think we played pretty well in both halves.
‘I was expecting us to score a little bit earlier than we did because we did look capable, but it didn’t quite happen for us,.
On the flip side of that, on the break and counter attack they (Crawley) had some pace and nearly caught us out on maybe two occasions in the first half.
‘But overall I thought we had good control of it. I did think we were probably going to score more goals than we did, but we’ll take the one goal as it is and move on.
‘The Southend game is off on Saturday and the next league fixture is two weeks tonight against Burton, the manager took it that he might as well put a reasonably strong team out there, especially a lot of players that played at Blackpool on Saturday.
‘Training is one thing, playing games is another, and unfortunately we have another couple of weeks waiting for the next league game.’