John Mousinho lauded the character of his Pompey players to fight back for a big Oxford United win.

And the Blues boss acknowledged his former side deserved a return from the game in a breathless clash at Fratton Park.

Christian Saydee’s second-half goal made the difference as he gave his side a 2-1 win to keep them seven points clear at the top of League One.

Mousinho thought there was pros and cons to his team’s performance, but could see the determination from his players to eke out another win to make it nine games unbeaten.

He said: ‘It was two good teams going at it trying to play good football.

‘Sometimes when you press high like both side did it can leave you a bit exposed at the back.

‘Both sides felt the crunch a couple of times, but it was an enjoyable game to watch though not always if you’re the head coach of both sides.

‘It was a really good advert for League One and my assessment is Oxford can count themselves unlucky not to come away with at least a point.

‘They are a very good side, so we’re really pleased to come away with all three points. When the dust settles we’ll see it’s a really good three points.

‘We showed character to dig out the three points.

‘I know our players will have to deal with sides upping their game and Oxford are a good side anyway. That was the best football I’ve seen them play.

‘They are going to want to come here and beat Portsmouth.

‘There’s two sides to that because the support we have and the atmosphere we generate can be really difficult to play against - and we really felt that in the last 10 to 15 minutes.’

Sub Saydee’s goal came with 23 minutes remaining, with Oxford having plenty of chances after the restart to take the lead in an end-to-end battle.

Mousinho felt Pompey did manage to exercise good control of the game from that point to get the win over the line.

He added: ‘The biggest bonus from me was when we got the goal to go ahead I thought we were well in control, barring a set-piece we cleared off the line.

‘I felt we kept playing and didn’t panic so overall there was plenty to improve upon and plenty of good things in possession - but the result was most important.'

2024-03-02T18:28:20Z dg43tfdfdgfd