COLIN Cooper has returned a verdict of “encouraging” on his first game in charge of Hartlepool United.
The 46-year-old used last night’s friendly with Almere City to run the rule over the majority of his players, only Scott Flinders, who has a slight niggle, and Steve Howard, who watched from the stands, remained unused.
Cooper watched on at the HSV Stadium in Heiloo as the Dutch second-division outfit ran out 3-1 victors courtesy of two late strikes, trialist Nialle Rodney having earlier been on target for Pools.
“There is plenty to work with,” replied the former Middlesbrough coach when asked for his thoughts on his first game at the helm.
“I was disappointed to lose two late goals but I thought we looked a threat on the counter-attack, especially with the pace we have in the side.
“I also thought we looked disciplined and organised, which considering we’ve only done one session on team play was encouraging.
“The work-rate and attitude I cannot argue with either.
“All I said to them after the game was ‘you have to want to get better every day, starting tomorrow’.
“And then on Saturday I want them to get better again.
“If we do that then we can make small steps forward every day.”
Pools face Telstar tomorrow in the final friendly of their pre-season tour, where Cooper anticipates a similar test against the “technically proficient” Dutch.
And he admits he is hoping his side take their second-half efforts into that match.
“When you play against Dutch teams, which are technically proficient, they are always good at keeping the ball,” he went on.
“We maybe got frustrated with that in the first half last night and we were picked off for the first goal.
“We had a few words at half-time and wanted to press them more, which I believe we can do, we have the energy and enthusiasm to do that.
“In the second half we saw that and we looked more organised and were a threat going forward.
“It didn’t quite happen and then they have a couple of half chances which end up in our goal, which takes the gloss off the evening a little bit.
“But I can’t be too critical after just one team-play session with them.”