Portsmouth boss Avram Grant believes his players can hold their heads high despite losing 2-1 to Aston Villa on Sunday.
FA Cup finalists Pompey were without 12 senior players but did grab shock ninth-minute lead through Michael Brown.
Villa fought back to win the game courtesy of strikes from John Carew and Nathan Delfouneso – the former also saw a first-half penalty saved by David James.
But despite slipping to a 15th league defeat of the season, Grant hailed the performance of his patched-up side.
"Of course we wanted to win the game today, but first and foremost we wanted to play with pride, put on a good performance and be professional and we did that," he said.
"I am very happy with the boys even though we lost. We have so many players unavailable and yet we can play like that against a very good team – that pleases me.
"Despite everything that has happened with this team – and it is not easy – we continue to fight. I am very proud of them."