Craig Hignett said Hartlepool United paid for a “disappointing” first half as Accrington completed a deserved double over Pools.
Stanley clinched a 2-1 victory at Victoria Park, Seamus Conneely and Tariqe Fosu scoring at the start and end of the first half.
I had words at the break.
Conneeley’s third-minute volley was a beauty while fellow midfielder Fosu netted the winner in first-half stoppage time after good work by the equally impressive Josh Windass.
Rakish Bingham scored in between with a header and while Pools had the better of the second 45 minutes, they did not look like scoring.
“I felt we started really poorly, we sat off them,” said Hignett, who made five changes.
“We didn’t look as though we had any energy and we were poor with the ball.
“It was disappointing to say the least.
“The least I expect is that we graft for each other, be disciplined.
“First half we didn’t have any of that, we had no energy at all.
“I had words at the break, made a change and I thought we were better in the second half and controlled the game more, but they still looked dangerous going forward.
“It was one of those games where if we nicked a goal we wouldn’t have deserved it.
“I thought Accrington were well worth their 2-1 win.”
Hignett said he had no regrets about the number of changes - Jordan Richards, Brad Walker, Josh Laurent, Jake Gray and Rakish Bingham all came into the starting line-up. Carl Magnay, Nicky Featherstone, Lewis Hawkins, Michael Duckworth and Luke James made way.
“I made a lot of changes with some lads who haven’t started games and said when they would play, but they had to be right and ready,” said the manager.
“Whether I made too many changes, I don’t know, but we didn’t have the cohesion we have had of late.
“It may have been the lads getting used to the roles and the way we play, but that certainly wasn’t us first-half.
“Second half we had a better shape and made it more difficult for them and they couldn’t get out at times, but I can’t remember their keeper making too many saves.”