Craig Harrison says Hartlepool United must be smarter ahead of six-pointer with Macclesfield Town

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football;  Craig Harrison tries to organise his side
Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Craig Harrison tries to organise his side

Craig Harrison says Hartlepool United must be smarter in their decision-making and application.

Pools suffered a major promotion set-back last weekend when they fell to their heaviest National League defeat of the season.

The 3-0 loss at Ebbsfleet, just days after the biggest win of the campaign, 4-0 against Halifax Town, 4-0, has heaped the pressure on Pools ahead of Saturday’s six-pointer with Macclesfield Town.

Macclesfield are third in the table, slipping from the top after three straight draws, but they are many a pundit’s shout for the title.

Pools trail the Silkmen by seven points and that gap must not grow to 10.

Harrison was correct in assessing that Pools did not perform that badly at Ebbsfleet but says the execution has to be better.

“As daft as this may sound after a 3-0 result I thought we controlled the game,” said the manager.

“We got into some good areas, but then the final ball, final cross and final shot wasn’t good enough.

“We’ve got to get more goals, more shots at goal, we’ve got to be better when we are in wide areas, we’ve got to pick the right cross, make the right decision instead of being frivolous with it.

“Don’t just flash it in thinking someone will be there, pick out a man.”

Harrison is right to be frustrated.

While not played off the park, as a 3-0 scoreline might suggest, Pools only managed one shot on target, a telling stat.

But the manager says the players were as disappointed as he was on Saturday.

“Of course,” he said. “Like I’ve said a thousand times before I have a good, honest set of lads.

“They give everything they’ve got, but we need to be more productive with what we do.

“From the first whistle we got into some good areas but we picked the wrong pass, we need to be smarter.

“Our choices were poor or the last pass bad.”