Paul Hart took the positives from Portsmouth's second-half showing in the 2-0 defeat at Premier League leaders Manchester United.
Pompey struggled in the first period at Old Trafford and trailed to a ninth-minute goal from Wayne Rooney, while United also wasted several chances.
The visitors improved after the break before substitute Michael Carrick made the game safe for the title favourites with a second goal on 82 minutes.
Hart acknowledged his team were off the pace in the opening 45 minutes, but was happy with the response after half-time.
"I think in the first half we were a little bit reticent and were sort of pussy-footing around a bit," Hart told Sky Sports.
"We were lucky to come in 1-0 down as our keeper's made some fantastic saves, and we had a bit of luck and some good defending.
"In the second-half I thought we started well, and I thought at times we had an awful lot of control of the game and maybe could have pulled one back.
"We put a good shift in and we made it very difficult for Manchester United, who are an extremely good team.
"It's the second game we've lost I think in eight games and the other one was Chelsea. We did pretty well in that one as well and I think the second-half performance we can take an awful lot of positives from.
"We started to make good progress, had good build-ups and retained the ball a bit better in the second-half. On another day, we may have got something."
Pompey full-back Hermann Hreidarsson appealed for offside for United's opener, but Hart felt Ryan Giggs was onside when Anderson played his through ball.
He commented: "Hermann thought it was offside, but I don't think he was. We don't complain about anything."
The defeat leaves Pompey six points clear of the relegation zone with five games left to play, but Hart is not taking safety for granted.
"We still need some points," he continued. "How close I don't know, but we're certainly not close enough to start thinking we're close (to safety)."
David Nugent was replaced at half-time due to a dead leg, but Hart is optimistic the forward will be fit for next Monday's trip to Newcastle United.
Hart concluded: "He's got a dead leg and is pretty sore, but we've got a few extra days to Monday, so hopefully he'll be recovered."