Pompey have been told they must stop conceding the first goal if they want to arrest their worrying slump.
Michael Appleton’s men have lost five of their past six league games.
In each of those fixtures, they fell behind first.
In total, the Blues have conceded the opening goal in eight of their 10 matches in all competitions this season.
It is a problem which has put them on the back foot from the off in matches.
In Darel Russell’s eyes, such ‘gifts’ are sabotaging their season.
And the experienced midfielder has urged them to stop the sloppiness if they want to stand any chance of hauling themselves up the table.
He said: ‘We played brilliantly at times going forward against Notts County and we have great combinations.
‘But we are conceding and losing the first goal a lot of times. Goals affect emotions and the run of the game, so it can be difficult to come back from that.
‘We need to take responsibility in terms of stopping certain situations and certain gifts we give away too easily at times.
‘If you want to give everyone a 1-0 lead before you start playing it is going to be a difficult situation.
‘Suddenly you are going to have to score twice. You shouldn’t need to score twice. One goal wins you games, one goal gets you three points.
‘That is the situation and we need to understand that.’
Of their opening 10 matches this season, Pompey have scored first only twice.
The first was the opening league game with Bournemouth, when Izale McLeod struck on his debut.
The Cherries went on to level in the second half and claim a 1-1 draw at Fratton Park.
The only other occasion was the 3-0 triumph at Crawley, to date the Blues’ only league win.
Pompey netted three second-half goals against the hosts, who had been reduced to nine men.
On Saturday at Meadow Lane, the opener came in only the fifth minute.
Notts County went on to net twice more in the second half, one of which was two minutes after the interval.