Ronnie Moore today demanded his players “give more” after Hartlepool United’s survival hopes suffered a major blow.
Pools frittered away one of their games in hand last night when they lost 2-1 to relegation rivals Stevenage at Victoria Park.
You look at last year’s group and they scrapped for everything.
And defeat to managerless Borough has heaped more pressure on Saturday’s 22nd v 21st match against Yeovil Town - the second of three consecutive home matches.
“They have got to give more,” said Moore, whose team are facing their second relegation battle in a row.
“They have to give more as a team and give more as individuals.
“When you look at the individual players we have this season, they are better than the ones we had last season.
“But as a team and as a group? You look at last year’s group and they scrapped for everything.
“We have one or two here who are maybe not showing that same willingness as far as I’m concerned to play as a team.
Pools remain four points above the drop zone after Dagenham & Redbridge lost at home but Moore was frustrated that last night was an opportunity wasted.
A draw or win last night would have taken them above Saturday’s visitors, Yeovil, and a victory would have moved them seven points clear of the bottom two and within a point of 19th-placed Stevenage.
“We have games in hand but if we keep losing them we’re going to be in trouble,” admitted Moore.
“Dagenham lost and we have missed a great opportunity to put a gap between us and them and close the gap on Stevenage.
“You have to be winning against teams in and around you.
“I spoke to the players afterwards about what a tough position we are in.
“We threw away a great opportunity [last night] but now we have another great opportunity on Saturday against a team on the same points as us.
“We need to put space between us and the teams below us, but if we play like we did for the first 35 to 40 minutes, that’s not going to happen.
“I pick the team, I send them out there but they have to give the supporters more and give me more.
“You can’t play like that against a Stevenage team who had not won in donkey’s years.
“We’re becoming a team that at this moment everyone wants to play.”
Pools were booed off at full-time after their eighth home defeat of the season.
And Moore said he understands - and shares - the frustration of the fans.
“We’re at home, there are over 3,000 fans in the Vic willing us on, wanting us to win,” he said.
“They’ve moaned and groaned at times and I probably would have too. We’re all frustrated, we all want to win.”