Chris Hughton has vowed that Birmingham City will remain focused and spirited as the great chase for Championship promotion takes twist after turn.
Hughton is still smarting at the treatment his side received from referee Brendan Malone that precipitated a 4-1 crash at Portsmouth on Tuesday.
But with fellow play-off hopefuls Cardiff City visiting St Andrew’s on Sunday (noon kick-off), Blues need to clear their minds.
“That won’t be a problem,” said the manager. “We have to deal with things that happen and are fresh, then we have no choice but to move on.
“What we can’t do is turn the clock back. We can’t affect what’s already been done.
“We’ve got a campaign that we need to try and see through. This last result has been a little bit of a knock back in our quest.
“But there will be good results and there will be bad results right the way through to the end of the season.
“We just need to make sure that we get enough good ones. That’s our drive.
“We’ve got a game in hand over a couple of teams and what we have been able to do this season is bounce back.
“We went through a difficult period and bounced back with a very good result over Middlesbrough.
“We’ve seen by the results in this division that anything can happen.
“We know in that top group, going down to 10th place – perhaps even further - there are a lot of teams who have to play each other, ourselves included, as we play Cardiff and West Ham in this run-in.
“So there’s a lot that can happen and we need to stay focused and spirited, that will be the most important thing. And I’m sure we will.”
Hughton maintained that Blues were well set to secure a victory over bottom side Portsmouth, until Wiltshire official Malone got in on the act.
“We started very well,” he said. “We were a little bit patchy in that first-half period. Portsmouth played a system that certainly gave them bodies forward, but they left themselves open to the counter-attack at times.
“I felt we could have done perhaps that little bit more, but to go in at 1-0 at half-time, I thought that was deserved.
“We just needed to remain solid in that second-half period and make sure everybody did their jobs, with eleven players on the park, and that would have given us the opportunity to get the result we wanted.
“It was very much there for us. But with the decisions the referee gave, that made it very difficult.
“I will always put my hands up for a poor team performance. In this league irrespective of where you go, it’s unforgiving.
“But I thought there were decisions that affected the outcome of the game.”
Blues conceded an equaliser from a free-kick given against Curtis Davies, which was not a foul, as felled Portsmouth player Luke Varney confessed.
What made matters worse was that Davies was booked by Malone, leaving him just one more yellow card away from a two-game ban.
David Murphy’s sending-off for ‘minimal’ contact as he went shoulder-to-shoulder with Chris Maguire four minutes later infuriated Hughton, as did the resulting goal from the free-kick, with David Norris clearly handling the ball before firing in.
“At 2-1 with 10 men, it very much assisted Portsmouth,” Hughton added.