MICKY Barron insists Hartlepool United must regain control of their own destiny and not feel sorry for themselves.
A much-improved Pools side were beaten 2-0 by league leaders Tranmere Rovers last night to remain eight points from safety at the bottom of League One.
Caretaker boss Barron had called on his side to show “bravery and pride” in the wake of Saturday’s 6-1 FA Cup humiliation at League Two Chesterfield.
And, while the 37-year-old was pleased with the response in terms of character, he was nonetheless left to bemoan a 10th league defeat of the campaign.
“I think the players showed the fans that they do care and they are fighting for the shirt,” Barron told SportMail.
“But it’s hard to take this run of results – I would rather we play badly and got a win.
“There’s too many times we’ve played well and came away with nothing.
“I’d said to them at half-time ‘don’t finish the game saying we played well but got beat’.
“But it’s another defeat and we have to stop this run as soon as possible.
“I still believe one win could change things and last night was a step in the right direction, but that has to be the standard going forward now.”
Pools were undone by a Peter Hartley error which gifted the visitors a penalty 11 minutes from time when his stray leg felled James Wallace.
Andy Robinson tucked home the resulting penalty before Cole Stockton added a second in injury-time.
And Barron reflected: “It was an individual mistake which led to the penalty.
“Peter didn’t need to make the challenge, he could have stayed on his feet.
“That’s the way it is at the moment – people making errors at bad times.
“It just deflates you when that happens.”
He went on: “It wasn’t an easy game for Tranmere and they struggled to cope with some of our play at times.
“I hope it didn’t look like a team at the bottom against a team at the top.
“But we did not get on the ball well enough in the second half having done well in the first.
“You could sense the momentum swinging and we just can’t keep clean sheets.
“It has cost us again.”
Barron, though, was cheered by the applause of the home support on full-time.
“I thought the reaction of the crowd was terrific and the players got them going – it worked well together,” he said.
“Even at the end the fans had appreciated what they’d done.
“But we’ve got to get some points in the bag sooner rather than later.”