The only ‘real’ difference between Portsmouth and Bolton is in the chemistry between the players and their understanding and coordination. Portsmouth players have it, Bolton players don’t.
You could argue that Portsmouth’s flair players had more freedom (they certainly played with more freedom) or that Bolton’s defending is shiite (it was), but for me it was a coordination issue. If the team plays well together, morale is only a matter of picking up a win or two (Portsmouth were on a high after picking up a point against Manchester United, Bolton were on the opposite end after losing at home).
And as a manager, if you’re confident, it shows in your substitutions and the players feed on that confidence as well.
Portsmouth have done well but are not that fearsome as the 3-1 scoreline suggests. With concentration and proper positioning Bolton could have picked off Pompey’s attacks all day, and with Portsmouth’s current defensive problems (personnel) they could have conceded more goals if Bolton weren’t so off-key.
Time to work smarter (and harder) on the training fields, little Sam.
And as for Pompey – they could have done better, considering the fact that it’s a home game and the shape Bolton were in. Still, with their injuries and Muntari’s suspension, they were comfortable enough.