JOHN Hughes says his side “played too much football” during the 3-0 defeat at Doncaster Rovers – admitting they should have turned the contest into a “battle”.
The pitch at the Keepmoat Stadium was bare in large areas, the upshot of last month’s bad weather.
Hughes had anticipated the surface being to Pools’ liking but it was the hosts who bossed the game, goals from Iain Hume, James Coppinger and Billy Paynter sealing a comfortable victory.
And Hughes reflected: “When I saw the pitch I was rubbing my hands, I thought it might suit us.
“On a pitch like that we should have turned it into a real fight and a battle and have no embarrassment doing it.
“But the way we played it would have been hard to get a result.
“I thought we were a wee bit flat and a bit off it.
“This might sound strange, but we played too much football.
“It’s nice to see them playing football but it’s horses for courses and we could have turned the centre-backs more.”
Pools fell behind on 35 minutes when Hume was allowed to glide through the middle of the park before burying low into the bottom corner.
It was a concession which angered Hughes.
“I was really disappointed with the first goal, he just ran through,” said the Scot.
“He must have run 20 to 30 yards to drill it in the bottom corner.
“I don’t mind if you’re getting beat to great goals but they were avoidable - we were second best.”
Hughes had hoped that his front three of Jon Franks, James Poole and Charlie Wyke, so impressive in recent weeks, would have again made life difficult for the opposition backline.
Instead, a clearly disgruntled Franks and Poole were substituted on the hour mark.
And Hughes said: “I thought that the movement of Charlie, Poolie and Franks might have caused them problems, but it was anything but that.
“The balls we played up were right onto their defenders’ heads.
“We never laid a glove on them.
“We changed it in the second half but we just couldn’t get the quality of the delivery and their two centre-backs strolled through the game.
“Stevie (Howard) came close with a header at 2-0 and I thought Charlie might have got a wee toe on it.
“That would have given us confidence and galvanised us, it might have been different.
“But I’ve no complaints overall, they were worthy winners.”