Fulham boss Roy Hodgson hailed super-sub Erik Nevland as a ‘hero’ for scoring twice to kill off Portsmouth and give Fulham the three points.
The Cottagers were looking to bounce back from their midweek defeat to Sunderland and were on course in the 14th minute when Andy Johnson slotted home.
But after a scare from a Younes Kaboul header which cannoned off the crossbar, substitute Nevland dispatched his only two chances of the game to sink Pompey’s attempted revival.
On his inspired substitute, the Fulham boss said: “Every time he’s called upon he’s answered and today he’s the hero of the team.
“I’m delighted that someone as unassuming and as professional as he is, is getting his share of the glory.
“He came last year and played a major part in our staying up. He’s played a part for us this year, he’s been very patient waiting for his chances.”
Despite a consolation goal from Portsmouth striker David Nugent six minutes from time, Hodgson was pleased his side managed to bounce back from the midweek Sunderland defeat.
He added: “If you lose a game from time to time you’ve got to make sure you win one and this was a big game for both teams. I’m just delighted that we have got the 29 points that we have so far.”
Hodgson also had some sympathy for Pompey’s under-fire boss Tony Adams
“He’s at a low ebb,” conceded Hodgson. “He is in that unfortunate position that I found myself in at the beginning of last year.
“It is a very difficult situation to be in. When the team plays as well as Portsmouth did and you lose 3-1 it is not as easy to know quite how to deal with that.
“I think they are a good team and playing quite well. I am sure if they continue to do that they won’t be losing every match 3-1.
“But there is only so many times you can go in after defeats with everyone’s chins on the ground and say ‘don’t worry lads, things will turn around’, before they think you are a long-playing record and start to doubt your sanity.
“There is no magic wand in this game. It is work in the end which brings its rewards and, of course, the quality of the players you have at your disposal.
“It wasn’t an easy game. Both teams worked hard. But I was pleased by the solidity of our performance and delighted by the runs of our front players to get in behind their defenders.”
New loan signing from Derby County, Giles Barnes, was unveiled to the Fulham faithful before the game and Hodgson confirmed two more players are on the verge of joining the Cottagers.
“We have lost three players and they need to be replaced,” said Hodgson. “We’ve recruited one but I would still like to bring in two more and we are negotiating with two clubs and players. It would be nice if both could come but I can’t say if that is going to happen or not at the moment.”
However he denied newspaper reports that Fulham had tabled bids for Leeds United playmaker Fabian Delph and Tottenham’s Tom Huddlestone.