Gabor Gyepes is adamant Simon Eastwood should not be blamed for Pompey’s Boundary Park defeat.
The keeper was at fault for the only goal of the game at Oldham on Saturday as the Blues made it 22 matches without victory.
He allowed Jose Baxter’s 25-yard drive to go under his diving body in the 11th minute.
Pompey barely mustered a notable attempt on goal after that as their wretched run continued.
Inevitably, criticism was fired in the direction of Eastwood by some supporters following his crucial error.
But team-mate Gyepes was refusing to point the finger in the direction of the former Huddersfield stopper.
He said: ‘I think Eastie has played really well this season and mistakes on the pitch are always part of the game.
‘Nobody blames him because sometimes you make mistakes.
‘It is really, really unlucky but you have to keep going and try again tomorrow.
‘There were other moments in the game he did well, with some good saves and he caught the ball every time.
‘That’s what I am saying, he played really well and is a really good keeper for us.
‘He is young and this kind of mistake happens to every keeper, even in the Premier League, which is the biggest league in the world.
‘So I don’t blame him, there is no reason to blame him.
‘Of course Eastie is improving over the season, it is a learning curve for him.
‘But we – as players – back him as much as possible, so it is no problem.’
Had it not been for the right and left-hand posts in the second half, the scoreline would have been more emphatic.
As it is, a 17th defeat in their past 22 games has left the Blues four points adrift at the foot of League One.
Their chances of getting back into the Boundary Park contest were hampered by Sam Sodje’s second-half dismissal.
The central defender was shown a straight red card after the linesman saw him punch Lee Barnard off the ball.
He now receives an automatic three-match ban for violent conduct, ruling him out of tomorrow’s visit of MK Dons.
That will open the door for Ricardo Rocha to resume his central defensive partnership with Gyepes, having been dropped to the bench on Saturday.
And the Hungarian revealed Sodje had apologised to his team-mates after the final whistle over the manner of his 50th-minute dismissal.
He added: ‘I can’t say too much about what he (Sam) did because it has never happened with me.
‘I cannot understand why someone would do that.
‘But it has happened and he apologised to everyone afterwards in the dressing room.
‘He knew what he did wasn’t the right decision and said sorry.
‘In the game, everybody gave his best and we had quite a good match despite the result.
‘To be honest, even though Sam was sent off I didn’t feel we were given too many problems in the second half.’