Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett praises clinical Middlesbrough following pre-season defeat

Craig Hignett felt Hartlepool United’s 4-0 defeat at home to Middlesbrough on Sunday told him more about his side than the previous three friendlies combined.

By Dominic Scurr
Sunday, 14 July, 2019, 16:45
Craig Hignett watching his Hartlepool United side face Middlesbrough. Picture: Frank Reid

Pools went into the match having brushed aside three Northern League teams in their opening pre-season matches. Championship opposition in Boro were sure to prove a stern test and that quickly became apparent as Marcus Tavernier put the visitors ahead inside the opening five minutes.

Rudy Gestede, Aden Flint and George Saville then got on the scoresheet as Jonathan Woodgate’s side ran out as convincing winners at the Super 6 Stadium.

It was a game that left Hignett frustrated that his side weren’t able to get on the scoresheet.

“I’m a little bit disappointed if I'm honest,” he said.

“We should have scored one or two goals but that the difference when you play a Championship side with the quality that Middlesbrough have got.

“When it matters they pick it out. They had one man in the box for the second goal and they pick him out and they score so that’s the difference really.

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“We had six chances where we should be working the goalkeeper but we haven’t been able to score a goal which is a little bit disappointing considering the first three games.

“We had some good spells, I can’t remember too many games against Middlesbrough where we’ve had as much of the ball as we did and I thought we were in the game.

“It was an entertaining game with two teams trying to play the right way. Disappointing for me but we learn from it and thankfully we won’t be playing that quality every week.

“I think this game has taught me more about the team than all the other games.

“This was a real test and it gave me the chance to look at us more defensively and see where we’re short and what we can do better.

“I think Middlesbrough were worthy of it and I don’t think 4-0 flattered them. Today was a harsh lesson for them but it’s good for the players to see the difference in the levels moving forward.”