Craig Hignett: Hartlepool United need to find their ruthless streak

Matthew Bates is congratulated on his goal by Toto Nsiala

Matthew Bates is congratulated on his goal by Toto Nsiala

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Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett wants his players to find their ruthless streak.

The gaffer admits he was a little nervous when the score remained at 1-0 on Saturday, having lost leads on so many occasions this campaign.

But Matthew Bates 80th minute header settled the nerves and all but ended any chance of a repeat performance of Barnet, a fortnight previous.

Still, while Hignett was delighted to end the club’s winless run at home, he has tasked his players with putting games to bed much earlier than they do at present.

He wants the Pools squad to find their clinical edge, in order to climb the League Two table.

“We carved them open and had chances with interplay and passing but we have to be ruthless,” said the gaffer.

“I was delighted to win 2-0, but if we are really ruthless we get four or five.”

Having been under the microscope in recent weeks, Hignett was quick to praise his defence, though, who ably dealt with everything the visitors threw at them.

Hignett continued: “They are a great, a big side, put the ball under pressure and things we have struggled with in recent weeks.

“They never played through us which was pleasing.

“The determination to keep the ball out of our net was very good.”

One of the most pleasing things about the game was that Pools were disciplined both in a defensive sense and in their overall play.

At no point did they allow the heat of battle get the best of them, having seen a number of players see red in recent months.

“We have to learn to win games and put them to bed. If that means letting someone score rather than being sent-off then do it,” said Hignett.

“We can’t give people a chance against us to put us under pressure.

“I’d rather have 11 on the pitch as my 11 out there can win any game.

“If we play like this then we won’t have problems, I was delighted with what I saw.”
The gaffer continued: “Nicky was excellent on the left side, (Liam) Donnelly’s decision-making is like a seasoned pro for a young lad. Lewis (Alessandra) was a pain, drifted all over, made things happen.”