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Hart: Performance gave us ''a massive lift''

Portsmouth boss Paul Hart admits his side's performance against Everton last Saturday gave the players a ''massive lift'' as they bid to collect their first Premier League point.

The South Coast team suffered their seventh straight league defeat when they lost 1-0 to the Toffees at Fratton Park.

This is the worst start to a top-flight campaign since Manchester United lost their opening 12 matches in the 1930/31 season - a run which saw them relegated. But Hart was pleased with his side's application against Everton and is certain they could end their pointless run at Wolves on Saturday.

He said: ''I think you can only be positive and that performance last week was a massive lift for everybody. The team got a standing ovation at the end of it. The players have been very good and there has been no difference in any of the training sessions over the past two or three months. They've done extremely well.

''We've picked the bones out of the game and tried to look at the positives. They knew we played well. They know that if they play like that again, it is inevitable results will come.''

While Hart was content with the Everton display, he knows his side must start converting their chances if they are to remain in the Premier League.

He said: ''I thought he (Dindane) was excellent in his first game. He held it up, got behind them, had chances and I thought it was a terrific performance on his debut. Piquionne scored two for the reserves and strikers need goals. He has probably taken the longest to settle, more than any of the others.

''It's a different culture and the Premier League is different to anything else anybody can face. Not everybody can settle at the same speed. But he did okay for the reserves and he'll be better for getting his two goals.''

Pompey's rotten run of results has made manager Hart the bookmakers' favourite to be the next Premier League manager out of a job. Hart is no stranger to being in the firing line, having managed Nottingham Forest when the club was stricken with financial problems in 2001 and he is determined to draw on these past challenges to help lift Portsmouth out of the drop zone.

He said: ''I think, subconsciously, I probably draw on those experiences - knowing things can change and things can get better.

''I think I've got a positive outlook. Sometimes when I'm with my staff I sound off and get it out of my system, but we have to be positive after what we did last week.''

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