Danny Cowley praised makeshift striker Ronan Curtis after extending his 100 per cent record as Portsmouth boss to three games with a 2-1 win at home to Rochdale.
Republic of Ireland international Curtis, deputising for the suspended John Marquis, and Ryan Williams were on target as Pompey cemented their place in the top six.
Head coach Cowley said: “We were pleased with aspects of our game. We scored two good goals in the first half and we were pleased with them.
“I am really pleased for Ryan because he is such a selfless player, such a team orientated player.
“The second goal was a fantastic finish from Ronan and credit to him because he has been away with Ireland and only flew back on Wednesday morning.
“The number nine role is such a specialized role, only the goalkeeper is more specialized. I thought he did a great job for the team, played with energy and put the team first.
“His link-up play was very good.”
Despite playing without a recognised striker, Pompey took just five minutes to open the scoring.
Marcus Harness picked out Williams with a perfectly-weighted cross and the Australian tapped home from close range.
The home side doubled their lead eight minutes before half-time when Curtis finished calmly after racing onto a Michael Jacobs through ball.
Rochdale’s only chance of the first half came in the final minute when Jake Beesley latched onto a long ball but was foiled by Pompey goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray.
Beesley’s close-range effort in second-half stoppage time proved too little too late for Dale to mount an unlikely comeback.
Manager Brian Barry-Murphy, whose side remain bottom, said: “We created a couple of chances in the second half, not as many as we would have liked, but from our point of view the first half was disappointing.
“We gave ourselves an uphill task through our own misgivings.
“Our lads are in great physical shape and are producing dynamic performances but in the first half our skill set let us down.
“We had quite a few players missing in the forward area but we did not keep the ball well all over the pitch.
“We looked very vulnerable to the counter-attack which is one of Portsmouth’s strengths.
“We knew they were in good form under their new manager but we need to focus on ourselves.
“Our performance levels lately have been great and we understand how many games are left and are clear in what we have to do.”