Liam Daish heaped praise on Pompey reserves’ ‘excellent’ performance in their defeat to AFC Bournemouth.
A youthful Blues side opened their Central League Cup campaign with a 2-1 loss to the Cherries at Nyewood Lane.
In an entertaining clash, it was Pompey who had the better of the chances in the opening period but went into interval goalless.
They were undone by two Jaidon Anthony goals within five minutes of the second half, before Bradley Lethbridge reduced the arrears in the 74th minute.
No senior pros featured for the Blues, with their entire side, except Matt Casey, being academy players.
And Daish was delighted with his side’s display against a far more experienced Cherries side.
Pompey’s professional development phase coach said: ‘They were all brave and wanted to get on the ball.
‘They were committed to it and we could have easily come out with a draw or even a win.
‘The first 10-15 minute period in the second half probably hit us with their two goals but we’re a young side – we had a 16-year-old out there in Harrison Brook who I thought was excellent.
‘We created a lot of chances and overall I was really pleased.
‘We countered a couple of times in a real, positive way but our final execution of pass let us down. That will come with a bit of experience, composure and arrogance in the final third.
‘We really opened them up at times and had numerous chances to score but maybe just didn’t get enough power in the box.
‘But overall I thought we were excellent.’
Daish admitted how his troops were punished in the second half came down to a lack of know-how.
He added: ‘In the second half, we started a bit slow but that might be down to experience.
‘You probably get away with it at under-18 level and give yourself 10-15 minutes to get back into the game.
‘At this level, you can go two goals down without even blinking.
‘Maybe we should have implemented a bit more of a game plan in the first 10-15 minutes and we played into their hands a little bit.
‘They wanted to press and momentum is massive.’