Lee Brown lifted the lid on how a lack of confidence and fan frustration caused Pompey to take the easy options at AFC Wimbledon.
The left-back told he and his team-mates wanted ‘to get rid of the ball’ during the second half of the 1-0 defeat so they avoided being in the firing line of the 712 travelling member of the Fratton faithful.
Despite an encouraging display in the opening 45 minutes, the Blues’ attacking threat significantly dropped after the interval.
Kenny Jackett’s side were unable to find an incisive pass or create a clear goalscoring opportunity despite having the majority of possession.
And they were made to pay when Terell Thomas’ stoppage-time header condemned Pompey to a fourth League One loss of the season.
Brown revealed he could feel the tension from the crowd boiling over in the second period, which caused the players to get rid of the ball so they didn’t make a mistake.
But the vice-skipper accepts Pompey must get the supporters believing again.
He said: ‘In the second half, the crowd starts getting a bit edgy when the manager makes a substitution.
‘That relays into the players and then we’re not taking that extra touch or finding a pass.
‘Players just want to get rid of the ball because they know if you make a mistake then they (fans) are looking for blood.
‘You feel the tension, we’re only human beings and the opposition sense it because you can see them get another gear.
‘But it is what it is. We shouldn’t be where we are and it’s our duty to get the crowd confident and give them belief.
‘At the minute, we’re not and we’ve got to take it.
‘If we won that 3-0 then everyone’s confidence is up. Could we have won that 3-0? We probably could have with the chances we had.
‘It is fine lines in football. We’ve got beat at AFC Wimbledon how we beat Doncaster when we were battered for 90 minutes but scored a late goal.
‘Why it happens, I don't know, but we have got to take our medicine and respond against Lincoln on Tuesday at Fratton Park.’
Pompey sit 18th in League One with 13 points after 11 games.
Despite bringing in the likes of John Marquis, Marcus Harness and Ellis Harrison for substantial fees in the summer, the Blues have failed to match early expectations they would be challenging for automatic promotion.
Brown, however, still feels there is enough time for Pompey to turn their fortunes around – but it has to be soon.
He added: ‘On paper, our squad is very good. You can see who the manager recruited and we have a good squad.
‘I don't think there’s any question of that but sometimes things take a while to click.
‘Confidence is massive in football. I have been in teams where we’re not the best but everyone is confident and you go on silly runs.
‘When confidence is low, it is low and when it’s high, it’s through the roof.
‘It's not been good enough but I’ve seen clubs turn it around many times – you see if every year.
‘But for us, it needs to be sooner rather than later.’