COLIN Cooper was today “hurting” after watching Hartlepool United demolished 5-1 at Northampton Town.
The Pools boss admitted it was hard to sum up just how disappointed he was after seeing his side, who had taken the lead after 46 seconds through Charlie Wyke, collapse.
Goals from Marc Richards and a double from Kaid Mohamed gave Chris Wilder’s team a commanding 3-1 half-time lead. After the break, Pools struggled to get going and Lawson D’Ath and another for Richards completed the rout.
It was a humiliating night – four out of the five goals were down to rank poor defending while little was created at the other end.
Cooper said he couldn’t take any positives on a night when Wyke was stretchered off with concussion.
“I can’t really sum up my disappointment,” said Cooper. “Some of the things you have to do in football, we didn’t do unfortunately, and it was really not good enough.
“We haven’t stopped crosses, haven’t defended our box and from the list of criteria we have before matches – there wasn’t one tick.”
Cooper refused to have a go at his players in public though, despite the heavy defeat.
But he admitted, as a former defender himself, it hurt watching his side and they all have to learn quickly from the embarrassing defeat.
Cooper added: “What we have said in the dressingroom will be kept amongst us and that is the right thing to do.
“There is no way I will come out here and lambaste players but as a former defender, seeing things like that, hurt.
“We have to learn from this.
“I understand that when things like that happen people will ask questions and I question myself every day.
“I am proud to be doing the job I am doing but I still question myself every day and look at myself in the mirror and think ‘could I have done something different?’.
“I look at that game and could have done something different? That is for me to look at.”
Last time Pools suffered such a heavy defeat – just a few weeks ago at Port Vale – the players were dragged in for a video nasty the next day.
That won’t be happening today due to the long trip home last night with another arduous journey to Plymouth to follow later this week.
Cooper told SportMail: “We had a long trip home and have a long trip to Plymouth on Friday.
“People might think ‘yeah, do that as a punishment’ but the players won’t be in their beds until 2am and I have a reserve game to watch [today].
“It will serve no benefit in my opinion, other than make the players more tired and what we need is bodies and freshness for Saturday.”