Richie Barker revealed he is still hurting from the pain of last weekend’s Pompey horror show but has backed his players to respond at Exeter City.
The Blues turned in their worst display of the season on their home patch as they crashed to a 1-0 loss to fellow strugglers Torquay, mustering just one shot on target in the entire 90 minutes.
While the lacklustre performance left Barker scratching his head, he believes he has seen a positive reaction from the players in training this week.
And he expects them to right the wrongs of a week ago in tomorrow’s League Two clash.
Barker said: ‘A defeat like that stays with you about seven days until the next game.
‘My family and everybody else in my house feels it and I am still experiencing it now to be honest. If I had a cat, I would probably kick it on a daily basis.
‘I put a brave face on it when I walk through the door at 7.30am every morning but it doesn’t mean I’m not hurting inside.
‘The dressing room wasn’t a particularly nice place to be last week but we try to do things in a constructive way.
‘My job is to motivate the people around me.
‘The players’ attitude has been spot on in training this week.
‘We asked for a little bit more concentration and a bit more grasp of the smaller details that we picked up over the past few weeks.
‘So it’s no good talking about what we didn’t do in the last game, it’s about what we can do going forward.
‘I know we weren’t great and the result wasn’t great but there are a lot of people a lot worse off than we are.
‘All we can do is get back on with it again.’
While Barker was at a loss to explain where it went wrong last weekend, he also outlined some of his methods in dealing with such a poor performance.
The Blues boss said: ‘Some people have said it was hard to understand it and it was hard for me to understand as well.
‘After the win over Wycombe, we should have gone out with confidence but it didn’t look like we did.
‘I haven’t changed my view. I spoke to some of the players and they said they just didn’t get going. It needed me to say what I did at half-time.
‘But I don’t explode and I won’t do that. I’ve never thrown a tea cup and I won’t.
‘I will express my views in a way that is constructive.’
And Barker believes there is little to gain from launching into angry tirades.
He said: ‘You have to think about what you want to say, we want to get the message out on what we’re trying to do and we have to get the message to the players.
‘I am never a big one for calling people names and telling them they are rubbish.
‘I’m here to try to improve them. If I am going to give them some advice, there is no point in me ranting and raving.
‘Now I’m looking for the right kind of response.’