Guy Whittingham has reflected on Pompey’s long-overdue success and insisted: The journey back starts here.
The Blues today stand clear of the wreckage of the worst winless run in the club’s history following their 2-1 victory at Crewe.
After 23 games and 134 days – stretching back to October 20 – the caretaker boss saw his team deliver a deserved victory at the Alexandra Stadium.
The win is the highlight of a brutally tough campaign for a club which has had to deal with a constant barrage of low blows.
Players and fans embraced at the final whistle in jubilant scenes more akin to promotion celebrations.
Caretaker boss Whittingham afforded himself a moment’s satisfaction – and he felt the win was the highlight of his tenure in charge with Andy Awford.
But he also delivered a message that the result has to be the first significant building block in Pompey’s recovery on the pitch.
An emotional Whittingham said: ‘It’s fantastic for everyone – all of the staff and the fans.
‘It has to rank as the best performance.
‘You start wondering if it will ever come.
‘There was relief and joy. You’re going to be emotional like that, of course.
‘There were a few deep breaths on the final whistle to make sure I maintained my composure.
‘You look at the fans and it gets you.
‘We had to drag Johnny Ertl out of the fans at the end. It means so much to them. It wasn’t like we were going mad in the dressing room after, though.
‘There were not people going mad. There were people sat remembering what it feels like to win.
‘You are professionals in sport and it’s all about winning.
‘We were saying this is where we should be and this is what we should be doing more often.
‘But now we need to kick on from here. We have to keep it going.
‘We can’t expect it just to happen against Bury on Saturday now. We need to kick on and make it happen.
‘The last four or five performances have been better, though. We’ve been more consistent – and that has to be kept up now.’
The win means Pompey have lost one of their past five games as they continue to show signs of progress at both ends of the pitch.
Whittingham said: ‘We’ve tried to work defensively to tighten ourselves up.
‘The last few weeks we’ve tweaked it a little bit and worked on offensive play. I think that showed.
‘It’s the more subtle side of things in the attacking patterns of play. It’s about telling people what we want to do and thinking about what runs we are making.
‘There are relationships building with our players across the pitch.
‘That’s what you can do when you start to find a level of consistency.
‘There’s 10 games left and we have to keep going now and stay competitive.’