Craig Westcarr has called for Pompey to cut out the early errors which are increasingly laying the foundations for defeat.
The Blues slumped to a 2-0 loss against AFC Wimbledon yesterday – a result which prompted an angry reaction from fans.
Goals for Frankie Sutherland and Matt Tubbs arrived in the opening 17 minutes – and there was no comeback for Andy Awford’s men.
In the previous Fratton Park fixture, Pompey went 2-0 down to Accrington Stanley after 15 minutes and went on to lose 3-2.
Of late there have also been early goals conceded at Tranmere and Shrewsbury, while last month at Plymouth they were 3-0 down after 30 minutes.
Next up is a tough trip to fourth-placed Luton tomorrow (3pm).
And Westcarr is well aware the recurring problems urgently need to be rectified.
He said: ‘The starts to games have been costing us recently and yesterday was no different.
‘Obviously we are disappointed to have conceded two goals so early on, we can’t keep doing it and expecting to pull a rabbit out of the hat every other week.
‘Fundamentally, against Wimbledon, it was switching off from two set-pieces.
‘We get told that every day, we work on set-pieces, people taking quick set-pieces but the manager cannot come on and shake the players around, the fans can’t do it either.
‘It is your own, personal job and we didn’t do that – and it has cost us.
‘However, it is also about the timing and we are involved in an uphill struggle straight away. You cannot keep trying to come back.
‘It is difficult when you go 2-0 down because teams shut up shop and play a certain way and you have to adapt to that again.
‘In the second half we came out strongly, for 15 to 20 minutes we were on top and you could see a goal coming.
‘Butts (Dan Butler) has been sent off but we have got to start the game better, we cannot just blame it on a sending off.
‘If we start better and keep the ball better – which was a key thing yesterday – then we will be a much better team.
‘It is a team thing at the end of the day, not a certain person’s fault, it’s a team game, we are all in it together and must sort it out.’
Pompey have now taken one point from of their last four games as they continue failing to threaten the play-off spots.
They are now 10 points short as they head to Kenilworth Road to face John Still’s side, who drew 1-1 at title-chasing Wycombe yesterday.
And six-goal Westcarr believes the Blues urgently need to up plenty of areas of their game at present, including their creativity.
He added: ‘People score from chances created and from quality which goes into the box – and we are probably not doing as much as we were in August and September.
‘We haven’t been playing that well, putting in two or three chances a game, and they are not really as clear-cut as early on in the season. We need to get back to that.’