Michael Appleton told his hastily-assembled squad: The season starts now.
Appleton feels Pompey are having to develop on the pitch in League One this season after being thrown together.
The Blues boss admits the constraints he is working under means there has not been the kind of homework done he would have liked on some recruits.
Appleton explained there had been much more due diligence carried out on the players he originally had lined up before his budgets were hacked earlier in the summer.
The 36-year-old feels the opening seven games of the league campaign has effectively been the team’s pre-season.
Appleton said: ‘We’re seven games into the season and I’ve told the players: “Look, there’s your pre-season done”.
‘Most teams have six or seven games pre-season, work together and try to play as many players in their starting 11 as possible. The majority of those lads haven’t had the chance to do that – but now they have.
‘So now it’s time to see what they are about.
‘I said I thought it would be October or November time before you saw the best of the players. I still think that will be the case because it is going to take time.
‘We’ve given debuts to players every week, especially in the centre of defence.
‘We’ve probably used 10 defenders in the first seven games.
‘If we can put out the same team, or near enough the same team for two, three or four games, you may begin to see some continuity.
‘It’s difficult when you are having to chop and change your team all the time, but the results will come.’
Appleton pinpointed Tuesday’s game with Swindon as a case-in-point when it came to targets he had lined up now playing for rivals.
A trio of Robins players – Darren Ward, Alan Navarro and goalscorer Andy Williams – were all on Appleton’s radar under his original budget.
They were given closer attention than some of the players quickly brought in.
Appleton said: ‘I think, in terms of talent spotting and recruiting, we haven’t done half as much homework as I would like to do when I’m signing a player.
‘That’s just the reality and the facts of where we are.
‘We played against a side on Tuesday who had three players in their starting line-up I’m convinced, given the tools to do my job properly, would have been playing for Portsmouth.
‘One of them scored against us, one of them did all they could to stop us scoring against them and the other kept them ticking over in midfield and did really well.
‘That’s frustrating. They are the type of people we did a lot of homework on.
‘We have players who have come in under difficult circumstances and we are having to learn about them now, as opposed to doing our background work on them.
‘I’ve learnt a lot of good things and bad things about them.’
Pompey go into today’s clash at Notts County without any new strikers.
Appleton had been working on a number of possibilities to boost his attacking options but could not get anyone in on time.
The Blues have extended Jordan Obita’s loan stay at Fratton Park by another month, however.