'We needed to bounce back from that because it was a real shock to the system,' he said. 'I was pleased with the defence. They showed a good attitude and a lot of character to keep a clean sheet.'
Clayton Blackmore, Jaime Moreno and Paul Wilkinson all had superb opportunities to earn Middlesbrough three points but were denied by Portsmouth's veteran goalkeeper, Alan Knight.
Knight first denied the defender Derek Whyte when his speculative effort almost dipped under the bar. Blackmore then pounced on an error by John Gittens but drove his shot wide from the angle.
A minute later the former Manchester United player met a John Hendrie cross but guided his header straight into the arms of Knight.
Moreno, the Bolivian international, wasted the best chance of the match when, from a Wilkinson knock-down, he shot straight at Knight from two yards.
The Middlesbrough goalkeeper, Alan Miller, was forced into his only save when his own defender Neil Cox attempted to chest the ball back to him but instead forced a spectacular save. The Serbian midfielder, Predrag Radosavljevic then carved an opening for Gerry Creaney but the Scottish international headed wide.
Notts County were also left cursing a missed opportunity - in their case to lift themselves off the bottom - in another goalless game at Meadow Lane against Notts County.
John Williams, their loan signing from Coventry City, was the chief culprit, blazing a good opportunity wide of the target in the first half after being put through by a flick-on from his fellow striker Gary Lund and then 25 seconds into the second half shooting straight at the goalkeeper, Steve Sutton. He was not the only guilty County player, the substitute, Nigel Jemson, also firing tamely at Sutton.