Character? What character? Craig Hignett slams his Hartlepool United players

Craig Hignett
Craig Hignett

Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett has questioned the character of his players after their Cambridge collapse.

In the run up to the clash the gaffer had called for a reaction from his players.

I’ve had bad days in football and this is the worst

Well, they certainly delivered, but it was not the reaction he, or the club’s fans were hoping for.

Hignett said: “I couldn’t see it coming, but it doesn’t surprise me, we’ve done it a couple of times this season.

“Something goes against us, and we collapse and fold.

“This is not the only time is it?

“I’ve had some bad days in football, but that’s probably the worst. It’s tough to take.”

Bottle is something the squad lack, according to the former Middlesbrough assistant boss.

“It’s not about systems it’s character and bottle,” he explained after the 5-0 home loss.

“Can you dig deep, look for out mates, hang in? But we have shown that we can’t.”

While he criticises his players for that, he says he must take the blame, also.

“I’ve said we are soft. I’ve got the take the blame for that, the buck stops with me and I will take it,” he said.

“It’s about pride. At half-time the game was really close, a great save form Trev. But as soon as we get a set-back the whole world collapses.

“It’s something to look at massively, but it’s about bottle and we’ve not got any.

“The mistakes we make, it’s schoolboy stuff at times, but we have this group to work with.”

Reflecting back on the clash - in which Pools conceded four goals in 19 second half minutes - he said: “Once they scored they were a danger every time they attacked and until then Trevor didn’t have much to deal with.

“With a set-back we fold and it’s embarrassing,

“We lost confidence when we conceded, it drained form us. We worked on getting the ball in the box and being a bit more direct all week, we got balls in the box.

“It was a good start and at- half time we said we had done OK. But a set-back, a goal, makes us stop doing what we do.

“I’ve had bad days in football and this is the worst. It’s massively embarrassing standing there watching it, short of playing the game foe them - it’s torture.”