Poor decisions in both boxes.
That was the succinct, but accurate, assessment from Craig Harrison of Hartlepool United’s 4-0 defeat at Dover Athletic.
Two Saturdays earlier, Pools had been beaten 3-0 in another cold corner of Kent by Ebbsfleet which had been their heaviest loss of the season.
They trumped that by slipping to defeat at the icy Crabble Athletic Ground.
“We need the will to be hard to beat,” said the manager.
Pools conceded two first-half goals to Mitch Pinnock and leaked a brace late in the piece to former loan striker Ryan Bird.
In between, Pools controlled possession and dominated territory, but could not score.
“Yes, we are playing better football than we have been,” said Harrison. “But we’ve had one win in five games and that’s no where near good enough.
“First and foremost, we need to have a platform.
“If you are going to be successful you need players to be able to do both [defend and attack].
“We have players who can do both, we have got to get it right.
“I don’t want us to go backwards in the way we are playing football and are passing the ball, but we need to make sure we keep the back door closed and don’t make poor decisions in both boxes
“We’ve made poor decisions in both areas, but we need to be tougher to beat.
“We’ve not given ourselves a platform to play from.
“In the middle bit of the field, we’ve done great, we’ve passed the ball, we’ve kept the ball, we’ve got ourselves in the final third positions.
“We’ve had four or five similar opportunities to how their first goal came about and we’ve not capitalised.
“But at 2-0 [at half-time] we had enough in the locker to go and get the next goal, if we’d have done that we were back in the game.
“We’ve pinned them back but that’s at 2-0, we have to do that from the first whistle.”