HARTLEPOOL United’s players MUST remain positive and believe they can still escape relegation, insists manager Ronnie Moore.
Moore urged his side to keep the faith despite a late 1-0 defeat to Burton Albion, which has plunged the club further into relegation trouble.
Defeat at a wind-swept Victoria Park saw the gap to safety increase with just 11 games of the Sky Bet League Two campaign left.
It was a drab encounter and Pools looked good for a point against the league leaders until sub Florent Cuvelier popped up with an 88th minute winner.
Moore was left gutted by the loss, which has left Pools eight points - nine with the goal difference - from third bottom.
Defeats for relegation rivals York City, Tranmere Rovers and Carlisle United only heightened the frustration inside The Vic.
Staying positive and trying to instil that belief is hard – but we have toPools boss Ronnie Moore
But Moore says the players have to remain positive that they can still get out of trouble, however hard that may be.
“Staying positive and trying to instil that belief is hard - but we have to,” Moore told SportMail.
“The dressing room is quiet when you lose, it may have been quiet if we’d drawn it too because we need wins.
“But you can’t have it your own way all the time.
“I can’t fault the player’s effort and I said at half-time a mistake or a bit of magic would win it – it was that close, you could tell as much.
“They couldn’t get it down and play, we couldn’t either and the keepers have hardly had a shot to save.
“We had a week which we hoped was going to be good but the games peter out.
“We gave everyone hope with a win [over Wimbledon] and then slap ourselves in the face.”
For all Moore felt his side were the better team, he was disappointed the hosts didn’t look like scoring or creating much themselves.
They will be back on the training ground at Maiden Castle today looking to bounce back quickly from their latest defeat.
Home form has picked up since the turn of the year but the defeat to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s Burton was his side’s fourth in the last five games.
They are losing games again at a time they need to be winning.
Pools have only won twice away from home all season and with back-to-back away games against Morecambe and then Oxford United to come, the situation is bleak.
Moore added: “The pressure is on us at home all the time because we can’t get anything away from home.
“I can’t see why Burton are up there on that performance, they will probably say the wind or that they came down to our level, which is what they say when they are up there like they are at their magic heights.
“Individually I wouldn’t be queuing up for many of their players and they won’t be for any of ours too.”
- RICHARD MENNEAR