Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor on poor start, game plan and ‘football intelligence’ following Salford City defeat

Dave Challinor made several changes to the Hartlepool United side for the trip to Salford City only to see the game plan go out of the window with just two minutes on the clock.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 9:35 am

After making three changes and switching formation for the trip to The Peninsula Stadium, Pools conceded with Salford’s first attack of the game as Tom Elliott headed in Brandon Thomas-Asante’s cross to make it 1-0.

Pools started with a 3-4-3 formation but that was quickly changed to a 4-4-1-1 as Pools attempted to get back into the game.

“You put a plan in place to try and expose teams weaknesses,” Challinor said.

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Hartlepool United stand in unison during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Salford City and Hartlepool United at Moor Lane, Salford on Saturday 16th October 2021. (Credit: Will Matthews | MI News)

“The one thing they do is keep themselves pretty secure as a back four, they have two centre-mids that sit, a centre-forward and three floaters – Thomas-Asante from one side, Ash Hunter from the other and Conor McAleny – that are able to go and affect the game.

“We need people to communicate in order to be able to deal and adapt to players in certain positions and situations. We were really poor at that and we have been previously to be honest and I’ve been critical of the players around that and their football intelligence.”

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The poor start ultimately set the tone for the afternoon as Pools went on to lose 2-0.

“To start the way we did never helps,” Challinor told The Mail. “That’s always going to be difficult and it's a poor goal to concede.

"It’s a mistake from Fergie [David Ferguson] and Zaine [Francis-Angol], they don’t stop the cross and we don’t mark properly in the box.

"Whether they get a bit of luck with the ball finding the net, for us it’s not just one mistake that leads to the goal, it’s a catalogue of small errors which costs us.

“It doesn’t give us a mountain to climb but it’s not the best preparation in terms of how the game pans out.

"There is still virtually 90-minutes left in the game so there was still plenty of time but we just didn’t adapt well enough to what they did and we didn’t put our mark on the game at all.

"It culminates in us having to change our shape fairly early on which gave us more of a foothold but we just lacked quality.”

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