A “smack across the chops” was how Colin Cooper described the bitterly disappointing 3-0 home defeat to Bury and he admitted afterwards he didn’t “see it coming”.
The Hartlepool United manager said that despite seeing his team have more of the ball, more corners and create more chances he said his side could still have been playing “next week” and not scored.
Cooper though has called on his players to take the defeat on the chin and move on quickly, ahead of the visit of Rochdale to Victoria Park for their next Sky Bet League Two match on January 11.
The 46-year-old said: “As disappointed as I am, I have to look at it and say we could have been here until next week and we still might not have scored a goal.
“Sometimes you have to accept those afternoons come along and while it isn’t easy to take, I have said on many occasions, that it is never going to be perfect all of the time.
“We do try to do the right things but occasionally we will get a smack across the chops and we have had one against Bury, which isn’t easy to take but we have to.
“We have to look at the reasons why and hope we have things in place when Rochdale come here.”
Cooper admitted after the high of beating Morecambe 2-1 on Sunday, he expected his Pools team to take Bury “to the sword”.
But despite Pools starting the day in 13th, just six points off the play-offs, it was the side in 20th – just two points above the drop – that came away with all three points.
It was the second time in five weeks Bury had beaten Pools, following the 1-0 reverse at Gigg Lane, and David Flitcroft’s side are now just two places and four points below Pools.
Cooper (pictured) added: “Bury have gone away with three points and three goals and I didn’t see that coming at all.
“After Sunday, I thought we would be really focused and ready to put Bury to the sword.
“We haven’t been able to do that unfortunately.
“What they have to avoid happening, and this will dictate where their individual and collective careers go, is if you have a massive high, the worst you can have is a levelling off and not a dip and against Bury we have dipped.
“That dip has meant that Bury have gone away with three points, which is disappointing for us.
“I didn’t see it coming but I have to take it on the chin.”
Bury raced into a two-goal lead through Danny Mayor and Daniel Nardiello before Richard Hinds added a third.
Cooper added: “They shot us in the foot, I don’t think we shot ourselves in the foot.
“To be fair to Bury, the strike from Mayor flies in and the second one compounds the start unfortunately.
“We are pushing back and then on the counter attack the ball is played in and Scott comes off to try to make up for the first goal and doesn’t quite get there.
“But let’s be honest, all the possession and all the momentum was towards Bury’s goal but Brian Jensen and their defenders defended the box and six-yard area really well.”