HARTLEPOOL United’s players and management will today sit down to watch a video nasty of what went wrong against Rochdale in a bid to come back a stronger team.
Pools boss Colin Cooper said the players will watch the entire 90 minutes to analyse, in-depth, the 3-0 defeat at Victoria Park, the second successive Sky Bet League Two match on home soil they have lost by the same margin.
Cooper’s side had actually started well and could have been in front after 15 minutes but Jordan Richards’ 20-yard free-kick struck the post and Christian Burgess was unable to score from the rebound.
James Poole also had an acrobatic effort saved as the sides went into the break level.
But in the following 45 minutes, Pools’ world fell apart after goals from George Donnelly, Peter Cavanagh and Graham Cummins gave the visitors the win.
It followed the New Year’s Day defeat to Bury and got 2014 off to the worst possible start.
Trimdon-born Cooper didn’t think his side played that badly but admitted they would be sitting down to analyse the bad, and good points.
The 46-year-old said: “As daft as it may sound, and I hear people in the stand with comments about the team and about me and I understand all those things, but then when I analyse it, how bad did we really play?
“I’m not so sure the last 20 minutes does us any favours as a group but previous to that we have lost the game to three set pieces and the manner of losing goals, you have to look at and analyse.
“All that I’ve said to the players is that really for the first time, judging by what happened against Bury and on Saturday, we will sit down and go through the game, the whole game, and we all have an open and honest look at ourselves and find the route forward.
“Sometimes, you can’t see the wood for the trees and I didn’t see any team winning other than us at half-time but then it is the manner of conceding that first goal from the corner; a couple of ricochets and it goes in and ends up in our goal.
“The second one is another free-kick where you have two people doing the job that only one needs to, therefore, there is nobody on the edge of the box for when Cavanagh strikes it and the third rubs the salt into the wounds.
“It is not easy to take and defending set pieces is a fanatically important part of football and we have not managed to do that.
“We haven’t been cut or carved open though and had opportunities to get in front but didn’t take them.
“The best thing to do, whether it takes an hour, two, three, four or five, is to sit down and go through the whole of the game and look at what we did well and what we can do better.”
Frustrations were growing on the terraces and the Pools fans streamed out of the ground as the third goal went in and Cooper admitted the successive home defeats have been hard to bear.
Cooper added: “It is only two games, but it feels like longer and feels like more.
“The right thing to do, is to sit down and analyse it properly as a group. That is important, going forward.
“To move forward you have to be critical of yourself but also look at what you are doing well.
“I said at half-time we are not far off, but at the end we were a long way off.”
- RICHARD MENNEAR