COLIN Cooper is looking to see his side recover from a “kick up the backside” when he takes Hartlepool United to Mansfield Town.
After the promise of back-to-back results against Accrington and Bristol Rovers, Pools were brought back to earth by Oxford United on Saturday.
Cooper was unhappy at some of the decisions which went against his team on Saturday and felt in-form Luke James did not get sufficient protection.
But the 46-year-old admitted his team, aside from a sparkling 20-minute period at the start of the second half, were not quite at the races.
He wants to see them bounce back this weekend though that’s easier said than done given Mansfield are on cloud nine after their 1-0 win at League Two leaders Chesterfield.
“We did not have the tempo, we were not as difficult to beat as we should be and we did not have enough quality when we really needed it,” he admitted.
“We’ve been rolling along nicely and I think we’d hoped for more of the same.
“It was a nice day, we were playing in front of our own fans and I think we thought ‘we’ll play some nice football, score some goals and go away happy’.
“But we’ve had a kick up the backside and we have to react.
“Mansfield have had a fantastic victory away to Chesterfield so they’ll be flying when we go down there on Saturday.
“They are a big physical side and we’ll have to be ready.”
Cooper and assistant Craig Hignett said they sympathised with the fans who voiced their frustration.
“We’re all smarting because I think things had been going nicely,” he said.
“One or two made their frustrations felt to Craig and myself and I can totally understand that.
“We’re trying to get a team that can play some football, it’s not for the lack of trying.”
Cooper says he will be looking for “quality” at Field Mill.
“We’ve had some nice things said about us before but I think in the first half on Saturday we were not quite there,” he said.
“Quality is one of my buzz words.
“We huffed and puffed but when we needed that bit of extra quality it wasn’t quite there.
“Is it a quality pass, shot or delivery?
“If you want to be a good footballer you have got to try to do things with quality as often as you possibly can.”