Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett claims his side “had to work” for what he thought was “a hard-fought” 2-0 Sky Bet League One win at Shrewsbury.
Goals from Ben Close and Brett Pitman delivered maximum points for Pompey ahead of next weekend’s Checkatrade Trophy final against Sunderland at Wembley.
Jackett said. “It’s not easy to win games of football. Today was a hard-fought one.
“You look at where Shrewsbury are, the amount of effort they’ve put in today, and a unique situation where just over half the division are all looking over their shoulder, and obviously Shrewsbury are one of those teams.”
Jackett, whose team are four points behind second-placed Barnsley in the race for promotion, added: “Just generally we were strong, earned the clean sheet. We had to work for it though.
“It wasn’t given, wasn’t a comfortable one. We had to really work for it, but you do. You don’t win games easily, and we had to work hard today to take the points.”
Close gave Pompey a 40th-minute lead, drilling home a loose ball after home goalkeeper Steve Arnold had initially saved a shot from Lee Brown.
Pitman added a second 11 minutes from time when he converted a cross from substitute Oli Hawkins.
“I felt for 20, 25 minutes Shrewsbury were the better team,” said Jackett. “My keeper kept us in it, with one or two great blocks as well defensively.
“It looked like it was going to be a tough day for us in that period, but we made one or two tactical changes that really helped us and got us the goals that in the end were decisive.”
Shrewsbury are a point clear of the relegation zone ahead of next weekend’s trip to Southend, the side directly below them in the table.
Manager Sam Ricketts said: “I thought the performance was at times very, very good.
“I think for the first half an hour it was probably as well as we’ve played for a long, long time, especially given the opposition we were playing against.
“I think if we had been one or two goals up after that period of time no-one could have questioned it. Everyone would have said we were worthy of that.”
Ricketts added: “We have a week to recover because I thought the effort the players put in today was excellent, a real endeavour.
“We tried to get more pressure higher up the pitch and play with some intensity and I thought we really saw that.”